Members of President Donald Trump's own party are expressing irritation
The Washington Post reported Monday that Trump apparently shared classified information
Republicans and Democrats alike are voicing frustration, distrust and irritation Tuesday with the constant stream of controversies coming out of the White House.
In a statement, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain described reports that the President apparently shared classified intelligence with the Russians, as first reported by The Washington Post and confirmed by sources to CNN, as “deeply disturbing.”
“Reports that this information was provided by a US ally and shared without its knowledge sends a troubling signal to America’s allies and partners around the world and may impair their willingness to share intelligence with us in the future,” the Arizona Republican’s statement said. “Regrettably, the time President Trump spent sharing sensitive information with the Russians was time he did not spend focusing on Russia’s aggressive behavior.”
Asked if President can be trusted with classified information, Republican Bob Corker, a Tennessee senator, told reporters “sure” and shrugged.
The top Republican in the Senate also expressed frustration, but he also said national security adviser H.R. McMaster’s comments Monday afternoon refuted the Post report.
“I read The Washington Post story and I read General McMaster’s response, which tends to refute the story, rebut the story,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky told Bloomberg in an interview Tuesday morning. “I think we could do with a little less drama from the White House on a lot of things so we can focus on our agenda, which is deregulation, tax reform, repealing and replacing Obamacare.”
The latest reports that Trump apparently leaked classified intelligence come just as the Capitol Hill was already grappling with the fallout from Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey, who was investigating any possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Throughout Congress, members say there are still questions that need to be answered. The leaders of Senate intelligence committee – chairman Richard Burr of North Carolina and ranking Democrat Mark Warner of Virginia – publicly requested Tuesday more information from Trump’s White House “on recent reports about alleged dissemination of intelligence information.” And members of the House intelligence committee are meeting with CIA Director Mike Pompeo.
Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida who serves on the Senate intelligence committee, told CNN that he had heard from the White House Monday evening after news of the breach broke, but he still didn’t have complete clarity into what happened.
“I have very specific questions and hope they will be answered at some point today,” Rubio said.
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia told CNN he was “deeply” troubled by Trump’s sharing of the information.
“There’s 19 of us privy to this information. 19 people out of 100. That means 81 senators I can’t share info with, at highest classified levels,” Manchin said. “I can’t share even I come out of meeting and they ask ‘what did you think? What’d you hear?,’ I have to say sorry I can’t talk about it. You know how difficult that is with your own colleagues? So, for this type of information to be coming from the President is deeply troubling for all of us.”
At least one member of Congress bucked his frustrated colleagues.
“I think it’s pretty overblown, but I’ll have to see,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican.
CNN’s Ted Barrett, Kristin WIlson, Tom LoBianco and Jeremy Herb contributed to this report.