Democrats are pressing the Director of National Intelligence Dan Coates to assess the impact of President Trump sharing highly classified information with Russian officials during an Oval Office meeting last week.
In a letter to Coates on Thursday, Democratic Sens. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by the League of Conservation Voters — EPA finalizing rule cutting HFCs EPA finalizes rule cutting use of potent greenhouse gas used in refrigeration The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by AT&T - US speeds evacuations as thousands of Americans remain in Afghanistan MORE (Del.), Gary Peters (Mich.) and Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichOvernight Equilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Schneider Electric — Deadly Ida floodwaters grip southeast US David Sirota: Seven Democrats who voted against fracking ban trying to secure future elections Deadly extreme heat has arrived: here's how policymakers can save lives MORE (N.M.) said that disclosure of certain sensitive information could compromise intelligence sources.
"While the President is empowered to classify and declassify information at his discretion ... any alleged disclosure of this nature may compromise sensitive methods of intelligence collection, imperil sources who risk their lives to provide information, and result in reduced intelligence-sharing with our partners and reduced confidence in the ability of the U.S. Government to keep a secret," they wrote.
"The ability to properly safeguard classified information is a fundamental obligation of those entrusted with our nation’s secrets, and any allegation of disclosure involving a foreign adversary must be thoroughly reviewed with action taken to mitigate the potential damage," they added.
The senators called for an assessment of Trump's intelligence sharing by June.
The Washington Post reported on Monday that Trump shared "code-word" intelligence — one of the highest levels of classification — with the Russia's foreign minister and ambassador. Subsequent reports said that Israel was behind the gathered intelligence and was "boiling mad" about the disclosure.
Homeland security adviser Tom Bossert reportedly alerted officials at the CIA and National Security Agency about what had happened in the immediate wake of Trump's revelation.
National security adviser H.R. McMaster said the information would have been known to news consumers, though the administration had reportedly asked news outlets not to share certain details that Trump disclosed. Trump said on Twitter that he shared "facts" with the Russian diplomats amid the mutual fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
Trump discussed the information during a meeting last week with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russia's ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak, who some have characterized as a spymaster.
Kislyak was at the center of controversy earlier this year following revelations of his contacts with Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, as well as his communications with Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsOvernight Hillicon Valley — Apple issues security update against spyware vulnerability Stanford professors ask DOJ to stop looking for Chinese spies at universities in US Overnight Energy & Environment — Democrats detail clean electricity program MORE during the 2016 presidential campaign. Sessions, who was then representing Alabama in the Senate, was acting as a surrogate for Trump's campaign.