Breaking News Emails
Russian President Vladimir Putin volunteered Wednesday to turn over a transcript to Congress of President Donald Trump's meeting last week with Russian officials in which he reportedly revealed sensitive secrets.
Putin cast the current turmoil engulfing Washington as "political schizophrenia" during a joint news conference with visiting Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, and said that U.S. politicians seem to be provoking an "anti-Russian sentiment."
"I can't explain the ... accusations against (Trump) that he allegedly disclosed some kind of secrets to (Russian Foreign Minister Sergey) Lavrov," Putin said.
Breaking News Emails
Putin then made light of the accusation: "By the way, I talked to him (Lavrov) about it today, and I will have to give him a reprimand because he didn't share those secrets neither with us, with me nor with the representatives of the security services. It's not very nice of him."
The Russian leader added that he would release notes of Trump's meeting "only in the case if [the] American administration would want that."
He added that he initially laughed at reports that Russia allegedly interfered in last year's U.S. election, but now he's concerned.
"What else can these people can come up with, people who generate this kind of nonsense, this kind of delirium?" he asked.
Russia's state-run TASS agency confirmed that Putin offered to release minutes of the talks between Trump and the Russian envoy during their May 10 meeting at the White House.
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The Trump administration has been caught in a series of missteps and questions over its handling last week of the firing of FBI Director James Comey and the revelations Monday that the president provided highly classified intelligence information to Russian officials.
It was also revealed Tuesday that Comey had written an internal memo saying Trump asked him to shut down an investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn — the latest twist in the political saga now raising questions of obstruction of justice on Trump's part.
After Putin offered Congress written records of Trump's meeting, NBC News' Andrea Mitchell asked Secretary of State Rex Tillerson if the "Russians were bugging the Oval Office?"
"I would have no way to know that," he responded.
Tillerson did not comment to a second question about what he thinks of Putin's offer.
During Trump's meeting last week with Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, current and former U.S. officials first told The Washington Post that the president provided the Russians valuable classified information a U.S. source has on ISIS. The arrangement with the unidentified source was so sensitive, according to reports, that the details were not shared with even U.S. allies and members of the government.
NBC News confirmed Tuesday that the intelligence had come from Israel.
National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, who replaced Flynn after he resigned in February following questions over his past communication with Kislyak, defended Trump's decision to share sensitive intelligence as both "wholly appropriate" and "consistent with the routine sharing of information between the president and any leader with whom he's engaged."
"It was nothing that you would not know from open-source reporting," McMaster told reporters Tuesday.
Trump tweeted earlier Tuesday that he has the "absolute right" to share certain information with Russia in regards to terrorism and civil aviation.
Trump has been enmeshed in the ongoing probes by Congress and intelligence agencies over Russian meddling and whether there are inappropriate ties between the Kremlin and members of his presidential campaign.
But he told NBC News last week that Comey said he was not personally under investigation. Still, reports that Comey — who was investigating the alleged Russian links before his firing — kept a paper trail of his conversation with Trump has Washington lawmakers warning that they would subpoena for related documents.
Putin on Wednesday declined to rate Trump's performance as president since taking office in January. He said that "it's up to American people and American voters. But Trump needs to be allowed to work in full manner first."