Putin Offers Transcript to Prove Trump did not Pass Russia Secrets
Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that U.S. President Donald Trump had not divulged any secrets during a meeting in Washington with Russian officials and offered to prove it by supplying Congress with a transcript.
Russia-Trump Collusion Club. pic.twitter.com/qjTi8nRoSJ— Brittany Pettibone (@BrittPettibone) May 17, 2017
But a leading U.S. Republican politician said he would have little faith in any notes Putin might supply.
Two U.S. officials said on Monday Trump had disclosed classified information about a planned Islamic State operation to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov when they met last week, plunging the White House into a fresh controversy just four months into Trump's tenure.
Trump, whose administration has been dogged by allegations that Russia helped him win the White House and that he and his allies are too cozy with Moscow, has defended his decision to discuss intelligence with the Russians after media reports of the meeting alarmed some U.S. and foreign politicians.
President Putin deployed his trademark sarcasm on Wednesday to make clear he thought the accusation that Trump had divulged secrets absurd.
"I spoke to him (Lavrov) today," a smiling Putin told a news conference with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi.
"I'll be forced to issue him (Lavrov) 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 still hopes Moscow can repair battered ties with the United States despite a deepening political scandal in the United States related to Trump's purported Russia ties, said Moscow had rated Lavrov's meeting with Trump highly.
If the Trump administration deemed it appropriate, Putin said Russia could hand over a transcript of Trump's meeting with Lavrov to U.S. lawmakers to reassure them that no secrets were revealed.
A Kremlin aide, Yuri Ushakov, later told reporters that Moscow had a written record of the conversation, not an audio recording.