President Trump sought to rebut claims that he inadvertently compromised Israeli intelligence during a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Monday.
Speaking to reporters before a meeting in Israel, Trump said that he never mentioned the country during a controversial Oval Office meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in which he may have relayed classified information about U.S. intelligence cooperation.
“I never mentioned the word or the name Israel. Never mentioned during that conversation,” he told reporters traveling with him when they were allowed in to his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “They’re all saying I did, so you have another story wrong. Never mentioned the word Israel.”
The Washington Post reported last week that Trump revealed “highly classified information” from an ally about a terrorist threat from the Islamic State regarding laptop computers to Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The New York Times subsequently reported Israel was the source of the intelligence.
According to an account provided by the reporters in attendance, Trump was responding to a question a Bloomberg reporter asked Netanyahu about whether he had any concerns sharing intelligence with the United States.
“Intelligence cooperation is terrific. It’s never been better,” Netanyahu said.