Franken, Klobuchar have their say on Trump intelligence sharing reports

The president is under fire amid reports he shared "codeword-classified" information.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Donald Trump's tempestuous start to the presidency continued this week with reports that he shared "codeword-classified" intelligence with Russia's foreign minister and ambassador at a meeting last week.

The Washington Post broke the story on Monday evening, and the New York Times is now reporting on Tuesday that the president told Russia it was intelligence from Israel – an ally – that tipped off the U.S. to terrorists' plans to smuggle bombs disguised as laptops and tablets onto U.S.-bound planes.

The president confirmed in a tweet on Tuesday that he shared "facts" with his Russian visitors and both he and his national security adviser H.R. McMaster argued on Tuesday that what was said during the meeting was appropriate, even with diplomats from a country many American politicians see as an adversary.

Minnesota Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar have expressed alarm at the reports, with Franken saying it once again shows the need for an independent prosecutor be appointed to investigate Russia's involvement in the 2016 elections.

"I believe President Trump needs to take several steps to begin fixing this. First, the White House needs to turn over any transcripts of last week’s meeting with the Russians to the Senate and House intelligence committees. Second, more than ever we need an independent, special prosecutor who can get to the bottom of the Trump team’s ties to Russia.

"And finally, President Trump needs to explain to the American people in a clear and honest way why he revealed highly classified intelligence to the Russians."

Klobuchar joined Franken in calling for a full explanation of what transpired in last week's meeting, saying that if the reports are true, it "hurts our intelligence community, undermines our relationship with allies, and could put people in real danger."

"This Administration needs to understand that Russia cannot be trusted and act accordingly."

In a press briefing on Tuesday morning, McMaster said the president wasn't aware of where the information about the terror threat came from, as he wasn't briefed on the sources or method of the information provided.

As president, Trump has the ability to declassify any information he gets, with the BBC reporting the disclosure to the Russians wasn't illegal. However, as The Atlantic notes, it could lead to strained relations with Israel – who provided the tip as part of an intelligence-sharing agreement with the U.S. – at a delicate time diplomatically between the two nations.

Next Up

st. paul winter carnival ice sculpture

3 winter festivals in the Twin Cities this weekend

The Great Northern, The City of Lakes Loppet and St. Paul Winter Carnival are all underway.

police lights

Suspect led deputies on 23-mile chase, hid in the woods

The suspect was arrested after a few hours hiding in a wooded area in Meeker County.

Kirk Cousins

Coller: Will the Vikings be the only ones left with QB stability in the NFC?

Matthew Coller writes a weekly Vikings column for BMTN, with more of his work found at Purple Insider.

La Velle E. Neal III

Twins reporter La Velle E. Neal III to become Star Tribune sports columnist

The long-serving Twins reporter has received a promotion.

ambulance

State Patrol investigating fatal crash near Duluth

The crash was reported around 6:15 a.m. Wednesday.

eden prairie police squad car

Carjacking reported outside shopping center in Eden Prairie

One of the suspects reportedly displayed a weapon.

court gavel

8 people charged in Medicaid fraud scheme totaling $860K

Collectively, they're charged with 46 counts of felony theft.

vaping

Minnesota gets mixed grades on its tobacco report card

In Minnesota, the economic cost due to smoking is $2.519 million with 5,910 deaths per year attributed to smoking.

Hardy Wills-Traxler

Charges: Man stabbed his father, set his home on fire

The 25-year-old has been charged with second-degree murder and first-degree arson.

Related

Al Franken says he won't be running for president in 2020

The Minnesota senator has been touted recently as a possible Democratic candidate for the presidency in 2020.

President Trump intends to withdraw U.S. from Paris Climate Agreement, reports say

Only two countries in the world are not signed up to the agreement, America could be the third.

What to know about President Trump's visit to Minnesota

The president will be in Rochester this afternoon.

What people, including the president, have been saying about Al Franken

The senator is in hot water after accusations of sexual misconduct by radio host Leeann Tweeden.

(Very) early 2020 polling finds Al Franken vs. Donald Trump would be a tie

Al Franken has said he won't be running in 2020, which hasn't stopped a pollster testing the waters.

Trump's Cuba policy reversal criticized by MN GOP congressman

Rep. Tom Emmer called the president's decision "misguided."

Rep. Ilhan Omar says death threats have risen since President Trump tweet

The president shared a video featuring a recent speech Omar has given spliced with images of 9/11.

Live updates: What President Trump is saying on his trip to Minnesota

We'll be covering the president's rally in Rochester, which starts at 6:30 p.m.