May 18, 2017

Heinrich wants damage assessment after reports Trump revealed classified info

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore cc

Sen. Martin Heinrich has asked the Trump administration for a damage assessment after news reports that the president revealed classified information to Russian officials during an Oval Office visit.

Heinrich, along with two other Democratic senators, requested a review and damage assessment from Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.

“We request that you determine whether classified information was disclosed or compromised in any way during the May 10, 2017 meeting, and if so, to designate the National Counterintelligence Executive, in consultation with the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community, as the lead agency for conducting a damage assessment,” the letter reads.

The other senators signing onto the letter are Tom Carper of Delaware and Gary Peters of Michigan. Both are members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee while Heinrich sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The letter acknowledges that the president has the authority to classify and declassify information but seeks information on whether Trump’s reported reveal of classified information “was an intentional act of ‘instant’ declassification, an inadvertent disclosure, or done for any other reason.”

The letter says that this disclosure could “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.”

The White House pushed back on reports of Donald Trump’s disclosure of classified information to a Russian official and defended the president.

National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster blamed the leakers and press.

“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 himself, in early morning tweets from his Twitter account, said he revealed the information  because he wanted Russia to aid in the “fight against ISIS & terrorism.”

Earlier this week, Sen. Tom Udall called for a “swift” investigation into the matter.

Wednesday, Heinrich and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, led 11 senators who sent a letter to the Department of Justice Inspector General asking for an investigation into how much Jeff Sessions was involved in the firing of former FBI Director James Comey.

The White House and the Department of Justice have had a number of stories on the timeline of the decision to fire Comey.

Senators letter to DNI by New Mexico Political Report on Scribd