Schumer calls on White House to release transcript of conversation with Russians
Democratic Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer is calling on the White House to provide the transcript of President Donald Trump's meeting with Russian diplomats to the congressional intelligence committees "as soon as possible."
Schumer made the comments on the Senate floor Tuesday morning, in the wake of a report that the president shared "inappropriate" information -- possibly highly classified information about exploding laptops developed by ISIS -- with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak the day after firing FBI Director James Comey last week. The president and U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster have not denied the specific claim that what the president shared was classified. Both are hewing to the statement that what the president shared was appropriate and within his rights.
"Given the gravity of the matter, we need to be able to quickly assess whether or not this report is true and what exactly was said," Schumer said. "So, I am calling on the White House to make the transcript of the meeting with the Russian foreign minister and ambassador available to the congressional intelligence committees as soon as possible. The White House should make the transcript of the meeting available immediately to the congressional intelligence committees. And if the president has nothing to hide, he should direct that the transcript of the meeting be made available."
Schumer said producing the transcripts "is the only way for this administration to categorically prove the reports untrue."
The story of Mr. Trump's disclosure to the Russians, first reported by the Washington Post, raised questions about the president's handling of classified information while Washington is still reeling from the fallout over Comey's firing. Mr. Trump was already under scrutiny for firing the man responsible for investigating any ties between Russia and the president's associates.
"There is a crisis of credibility in this administration which will hurt us in ways almost too numerous to elaborate," Schumer said on the Senate floor Tuesday. "At the top of the list," he continued, is "an erosion of trust in the presidency, and trust in America by our friends and allies. The president owes the intelligence community, the American people and the Congress a full explanation. The transcripts, in my view, are a necessary first step."
"Until the administration provides the transcript, until the administration fully explains the facts of this case, the American people will rightly doubt if their president can handle our nation's most closely-kept secrets," Schumer added.
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