Washington Post reporter stands by Trump story: White House ‘playing word games’

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WASHINGTON — A Washington Post correspondent stood by his story Monday night as the White House tried to declare it “false.”

“I think that the White House is playing word games,” Greg Miller said on CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront.”

The Washington Post story, authored by Miller and Greg Jaffe, cited current and former U.S. officials and said President Donald Trump told Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak about highly classified intelligence the U.S. had received from an ally.

Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, who also attended the meeting, said from the White House following the story’s publication that the story “as reported is false.”

“I was in the room,” McMaster said. “It didn’t happen.”

Miller said he thought the White House was trying “to blunt the impact” of the story.

“If this was all so above-board and not problematic in any way, why did the National Security Council coming out of this meeting feel it was necessary to contact the CIA director and the director of the National Security Agency to give them a heads’ up on what Trump had just told the Russians?” Miller asked.

McMaster said that during the meeting, “at no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed.”

The Washington Post story did not say specific sources or methods were discussed, but does cite officials who said Trump revealed the city within ISIS territory where the U.S. ally had detected the terror threat Trump had discussed.

CNN had previously broken the story on the intelligence that Trump reportedly discussed — that ISIS had been devising ways to plant explosives in large electronic devices and defeat screening systems intended to keep them off aircraft.

At the time, CNN agreed to withhold key details, including the name of the city where the threat was detected, at the request of U.S. government officials, who were concerned that if it was revealed, it could also reveal intelligence sources and methods.

One U.S. official in the Post story said that from the information Trump gave in the Oval Office, Russia “could identify our sources or techniques.”

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