President Donald Trump’s alleged sharing of highly-classified information with Russian officials in the Oval Office is not going to be the story that finally breaks his support from conservative media, Congressional Republicans or his most ardent supporters
But it will add fresh roadblocks to the president’s ability to get anything significant done on Capitol Hill this year, including sweeping tax reform and a major roll-back of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.
The latest explosion from the White House has already fallen into a familiar narrative. Administration officials late Monday released a flurry of statements denying the blockbuster Washington Post report that Trump disclosed highly-classified intelligence details to the Russian ambassador and foreign minister that could compromise a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.
For the most part the denials, especially from National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, were finely parsed. McMaster denied that Trump disclosed specific sources and methods to the Russians. But the Post story never alleged that he did that. It said only that he gave enough information for the Russians to potentially identify the source. The information came from another country that had not given the U.S. permission to share it.
After the denials, Trump issued a series of tweets on Tuesday morning essentially acknowledging he shared the information but claiming, correctly, that it was not illegal for him to do so.