Sen. Collins on Reported Trump Disclosure: 'Intelligence Committee Should Be Briefed...Immediately'

By Susan Jones | May 16, 2017 | 9:13 AM EDT

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) sits on the Senate intelligence committee. (Photo from Collins' website)

(CNSNews.com) - Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) released a statement Tuesday morning, saying the Senate Intelligence Committee "should be briefed...immediately" on what sensitive intelligence information President Trump may have shared with Russian diplomats in the Oval Office last week.

"The disclosure of highly classified information has the potential to jeopardize sources and to discourage our allies from sharing future information vital to our security," Collins wrote.

"There are conflicting reports about whether or not President Trump disclosed sensitive information to the Russians. Although the President has the legal authority to disclose classified information, it would be very troubling if he did share such sensitive reporting with the Russians. The Senate Intelligence Committee should be briefed on this important issue immediately."

Trump on Tuesday morning tweeted, "As President I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety. Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism."

But it not clear if Trump was confirming what the Washington Post first reported: That Trump, at his May 10 meeting in the Oval Office, "revealed highly classified information" -- drawn from top secret sources -- to the Russian foreign minister and Russian ambassador, thus jeopardizing "a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State."

The anonymously sourced Washington Post report said Trump's decision to share even more information with the Russians than has been shared with U.S. allies "endangers cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State."

The newspaper said after the meeting ended, "senior White House officials took steps to contain the damage, placing calls to the CIA and the National Security Agency."

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) told the Washington Post he would not comment on the report until he knows more about it. But he also said the Trump White House is "in a downward spiral," adding that "the shame of it is, there’s a really good national security team in place."

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster refuted the Post report, saying, "I was in the room. It didn't happen."

“The president and the foreign minister reviewed common threats from terrorist organizations to include threats to aviation,” McMaster said in a statement. "At no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed, and no military operations were disclosed that were not already known publicly.”

The Washington Post said Trump did not reveal sources or methods -- just sensitive information that could be traced back to sources and methods. "Most alarmingly, said anonymous officials quoted by the Post, "Trump revealed the city in the Islamic State’s territory where the U.S. intelligence partner detected the threat."