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National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster speaks during a briefing at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, May 16, 2017. President Donald Trump claimed the authority to share "facts pertaining to terrorism" and airline safety with Russia, saying in a pair of tweets he has "an absolute right" as president to do so. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

H.R. McMaster said Trump's conversation with Russian officials was 'wholly appropriate'


McMaster - full

WATCH | H.R. McMaster took questions during his press conference.

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster held a press conference on Tuesday to brief journalists on the president's upcoming trip abroad as well as explain why he seemingly contradicted himself concerning the events of a meeting between the president and Russian diplomats in which President Trump reportedly revealed classified intelligence. 

McMaster stood by his assertion that none of the remarks made during the president's meeting were "inappropriate." 

McMaster said he and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson were in the room and monitored the conversation.  

"In the context of that discussion, what the president discussed with the foreign minister was wholly appropriate," said McMaster.

McMaster said that he had not reached out the intelligence sharing partners to see if they were concerned, but stated that he was unconcerned about whether or not the story would concern sources who routinely shared intelligence with the U.S.

Furthermore, McMaster said that he believed that the NSA and CIA had been contacted over Trump's comments due to an overabundance of caution, rather than a legitimate concern over the safety of intelligence sources. 

Instead, McMaster said he was concerned with how national security was being affected by those leaking classified information to the press, including the leak that made The Washington Post report possible. 

The Washington Post report, however, did motivate some action: The Senate Intelligence committee has asked the White House to provide it with more information on the meeting itself. 

"The Senate Intelligence Committee has reached out to the White House to request additional information on recent reports about alleged dissemination of intelligence information," said Rebecca Glover Watkins, a spokesperson for panel chairman Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC).

CIA Director Mike Pompeo will brief the House intelligence committee on Tuesday.

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