U.S. Sen. Tom Udall criticized President Donald Trump Tuesday after the Washington Post revealed that the president disclosed classified information to Russian officials during a meeting in the Oval Office last week.
On the Senate floor, Udall said the latest news calls for a “swift” and independent investigation.
“The White House and President Trump face another crisis,” Udall said.
Udall went on to criticize Trump’s firing of former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and FBI Director James Comey.
“The only rational explanation is that he has something to hide,” Udall said.
Udall accused Trump of firing Comey out of frustration over the FBI’s investigation into ties between those close to Trump and Russia. The two-term senator added that Trump’s “actions call into question his fitness for office.”
Udall repeatedly said no one, not even the president, is above the law and at one point called Trump’s actions “circus behavior.”
Udall ended his floor speech by calling on both Democrats and Republicans to move forward with a congressional investigation. Udall referenced his time as the New Mexico Attorney General, saying that, in his experience, when someone interferes with an investigation “it seems clear they have something to hide.”
U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich also weighed in on the issue Tuesday morning on MSNBC.
Heinrich told host Andrea Mitchell that Trump’s conversations last week with Russia showed a “disturbing pattern of recklessness and it’s not a one-off event.”
Heinrich, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, added that “this is a pattern and I think it’s not a pattern that is serving our national security well.”
After Udall’s statements, and other Democrats in the Senate, the White House held a press conference where Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, the president’s national security advisor, defended Trump’s discussion with Russian ambassadors regarding an Islamic State threat, saying the discussion was “wholly appropriate.”
McMaster, at one point blamed the sources who leaked information to the Washington Post for breaching national security.
“National security has been put at risk, by those violating confidentiality and those releasing information to the press that could be used, with other information available, to make American citizens and others more vulnerable,” McMaster said.
Trump also defended his conversations with Russian officials on social media, tweeting it was an effort to help Russia fight terrorism.
“As President I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining…….to terrorism and airline flight safety. Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism,” Trump wrote early Tuesday morning.