Donald Trump has admitted he shared information with Russia "pertaining to terrorism and airline flights" as he wants the country to "step up their fight against Isis". This follows concerns he leaked classified information to Russian diplomats during a meeting in the White House.
Trump defended his actions by saying he has the "absolute right" to share information with Russia as US president. A Washington Post report said he revealed highly classified information to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office regarding Isis that the US has not even disclosed "with our own allies".
In a series of tweets, Trump said: "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."
The statement from Trump arrived after National Security Adviser HR McMaster dismissed claims the president divulged classified information.
He added: "The president and the foreign minister reviewed common threats from terrorist organisations to include threats to aviation. At no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed and no military operations were disclosed that were not already known publicly."
Russia's foreign ministry also described the reports as "fake", according to the Interfax news agency.
As noted in the Washington Post, Trump has the power to declassify government secrets as president, meaning it is unlikely he broke the law by disclosing any information to Russia.
However, a US official close to the White House described Trump's behaviour as "all kinds of shocking. Trump seems to be very reckless and doesn't grasp the gravity of the things he's dealing with, especially when it comes to intelligence and national security. And it's all clouded because of this problem he has with Russia."
Despite the tweets from Trump, the Kremlin are still denying the claims, with Russian presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov describing them as "yet more nonsense" adding that "there is nothing to confirm or deny."
The administration was also previously criticised for allowing a photographer from the Russian state-owned Tass news agency into the Oval office while no US news organisations were allowed inside.