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Trump Defends his ‘Absolute Right’ to Share Information with Russians

FILE PHOTO: A combination of file photos showing Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attending a news conference in Moscow, Russia, November 18, 2015, and U.S. President Donald Trump posing for a photo in New York City, U.S., May 17, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev/Lucas Jackson/File Photos
FILE PHOTO: A combination of file photos showing Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attending a news conference in Moscow, Russia, November 18, 2015, and U.S. President Donald Trump posing for a photo in New York City, U.S., May 17, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev/Lucas Jackson/File Photos

Facing a deluge of criticism over his handling of highly classified information, U.S. President Donald Trump defended having shared “facts” with senior Russian officials, saying on Tuesday he had an “absolute right” to do so and had been trying to get Moscow to be more active in combating ISIS militants.

The president took to Twitter on Tuesday to defend his actions in the face of intense criticism, including from some of his fellow Republicans.

Two U.S. officials said Trump shared the intelligence, supplied by a U.S. ally in the fight against the militant Islamist group, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak during an Oval Office meeting last Wednesday.

“As President I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety,” Trump said on Twitter. “Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism.”

A U.S. president has the authority to disclose even the most highly classified information at will.

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