FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)- Controversy is still swirling over reports that President Donald Trump disclosed classified information with the Russian Foreign Minister and the Russian Ambassador during a White House meeting last week.
The White House is pushing back against those claims. President Trump said he had the “absolute right” to share facts pertaining to terrorism and airline safety to the Russians. He did not specify if the information was classified as many reports and sources claim.
A professor at Indiana Purdue Fort Wayne said President Trump may have mishandled the situation. A Russian native who lives in Fort Wayne said she’s confident he did the right thing.
Irina Korolenko moved from Russia to the United States in 1955. She is a supporter of President Trump and she believes Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to work improve the relationship between the two countries.
“Everybody is concerned,” she said. “In Russia there was terrorism everywhere. I think all the countries need to fight against it together.”
James Lutz, Political Science Professor at IPFW, said sharing classified information could have done just the opposite.
“One of the consequences of that is foreign intelligence agencies will stop sharing information with us,” said Lutz. “It’s really extremely complicated and you have to be extremely careful of what you say and how you go about doing it.”
He said President Trump’s lack of experience dealing with intelligence sensitivity and foreign relations could be to blame.
“It seemed like a good idea at the time,” he said. “[He wanted] to build a rapport without realizing the implications that might have.”
Lawmakers on both sides are voicing their concerns. Democrats want a transcript of the meeting sent to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees and Republicans suggested the president be more careful.
Congressman Jim Banks released this statement Tuesday:
“President Trump has the authority to disclose intelligence information but the implications of sharing sensitive material must be carefully considered. The lives of intelligence professionals around the globe and vital international partnerships depend on the responsible safeguarding of sensitive information. I continue to urge the President and his administration to refrain from pursuing cooperation with Russia at the expense of our allies and national security.
“As another Washington media storm brews, I urge my colleagues in Congress to move past the news frenzy of the day and focus on what matters. Voters elected a Republican Congress and a Republican President to grow our economy, reform our broken tax code, repeal and replace Obamacare, rebuild our military and solve our nation’s problems. We must stay focused on these important priorities, be the party of purpose and move our country forward.”
Senator Joe Donnelly tweeted the following statement: