W.H. staffers say Trump couldn't have leaked intel because he didn't know enough about it

W.H. staffers say Trump couldn't have leaked intel because he didn't know enough about it
Source: AP
Source: AP

President Donald Trump's top staffers have a new defense for why Trump couldn't possibly have divulged classified intelligence to the Russians: According to the New York Times, staffers say Trump "simply did not possess the interest or knowledge" in the intelligence gathering process to have spilled harmful secrets.

The Times was paraphrasing comments from three unnamed "administration officials," who made the remarks privately the New York Times.

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster made similar comments Tuesday morning, telling reporters that Trump "wasn't even aware of where this information came from."

White House press secretary Sean Spicer also echoed those sentiments at an off-camera press briefing Tuesday afternoon, saying Trump "wasn't aware" of the source of the intel. 

Trump's divulging of classified information to the Russians has set off yet another firestorm in Washington, D.C., with some GOP lawmakers calling Trump out for the misstep. But even worse for the Trump administration is that the episode threatens to derail his first foreign trip as president.

Trump is set to visit Israel on May 22 — the very country who gave the U.S. the intelligence Trump leaked to the Russians.

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Emily C. Singer

Emily C. Singer, née Cahn, is a senior writer for Mic covering politics. She is based in New York and can be reached at esinger@mic.com

MORE FROM

Sean Spicer said he resigned to avoid having “too many cooks in the kitchen”

Sean Spicer said he wanted to give new communications director Anthony Scaramucci a "clean slate."

Report: Jeff Sessions talked about matters related to the Trump campaign with Russian ambassador

Intercepted conversations suggest Sessions may have spoken about campaign-related issues, despite denying that was the case.

Obamacare repeal bill dealt yet another possibly fatal blow by Senate parliamentarian

Republicans will need to find 60 votes in support of their Obamacare repeal bill, or else strip it of abortion restrictions and a provision that defunds Planned Parenthood.

Don’t cry for Sean Spicer. He knew what he was doing when he took a job working for Donald Trump.

At the end of the day, the former press secretary took a job telling lies in support of a terrible president. Next, he'll probably take a more lucrative one and continue to defend him.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders named White House press secretary after Sean Spicer’s resignation

The shakeup in the White House press shop comes just six months and a day since Donald Trump was sworn in.

3 things to know about Anthony Scaramucci, the new White House communications director

Scaramucci is a former hedge fund manager who was named Yahoo Finance's 2016 "Wall Streeter of the Year."

Sean Spicer said he resigned to avoid having “too many cooks in the kitchen”

Sean Spicer said he wanted to give new communications director Anthony Scaramucci a "clean slate."

Report: Jeff Sessions talked about matters related to the Trump campaign with Russian ambassador

Intercepted conversations suggest Sessions may have spoken about campaign-related issues, despite denying that was the case.

Obamacare repeal bill dealt yet another possibly fatal blow by Senate parliamentarian

Republicans will need to find 60 votes in support of their Obamacare repeal bill, or else strip it of abortion restrictions and a provision that defunds Planned Parenthood.

Don’t cry for Sean Spicer. He knew what he was doing when he took a job working for Donald Trump.

At the end of the day, the former press secretary took a job telling lies in support of a terrible president. Next, he'll probably take a more lucrative one and continue to defend him.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders named White House press secretary after Sean Spicer’s resignation

The shakeup in the White House press shop comes just six months and a day since Donald Trump was sworn in.

3 things to know about Anthony Scaramucci, the new White House communications director

Scaramucci is a former hedge fund manager who was named Yahoo Finance's 2016 "Wall Streeter of the Year."