Russian President Vladimir Putin denied on Wednesday that U.S. President Donald Trump passed secret intelligence to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during a meeting in Washington last week and said he could prove it.
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Speaking at a news conference alongside Italy’s prime minister, Putin quipped that Lavrov had not passed what he said were the non-existent secrets onto him and said that Russia was ready to hand a transcript of the meeting over to U.S. lawmakers if that would help reassure them.
"I spoke to him (Lavrov) today," said Putin with a smile. "I'll be forced to issue him with a reprimand because he did not share these secrets with us. Not with me, nor with representatives of Russia's intelligence services. It was very bad of him."
Putin, who said Moscow rated Lavrov's meeting with Trump "highly," said Russia was ready to hand a transcript of Trump's meeting with Lavrov over to U.S. lawmakers if that would help reassure them.
A Kremlin aide, Yuri Ushakov, later told reporters that Moscow had in its possession a written record of the conversation, not an audio recording.
Complaining about what he said were signs of "political schizophrenia" in the United States, Putin said Trump was not being allowed to do his job properly.
"It's hard to imagine what these people, who generate such nonsense and rubbish, can dream up next," said Putin.
"What surprises me is that they are shaking up the domestic political situation using anti-Russian slogans. Either they don't understand the damage they're doing to their own country, in which case they are simply stupid, or they understand everything, in which case they are dangerous and corrupt."
According to the Washington Post's bombshell report, two U.S. officials said on Monday that Trump had disclosed highly classified information to Lavrov about a planned ISIS operation during their meeting. A day later, The New York Times reported that the source of the intelligence was Israel, citing a current U.S. official and a former one.
The unnamed officials said Israel had previously urged the U.S. to be cautious with the said information. The revelation that Trump shared sensitive intelligence with Russia raises the possibility that the information could lead to it leaked onward to Iran.
The New York Times report said Israeli officials refused to confirm that Israel was the source of the information. But BuzzFeed News quoted two Israeli intelligence officials as saying that Israel had shared information with the United States on an ISIS plan to sneak explosive-laden laptops onto planes. The report that the U.S. president had shared Israeli intelligence with Russia was Israel's "worst fears confirmed," one of the officers was quoted as saying.