The U.S. media reported that U.S. President Donald Trump shared highly classified information about ISIS with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russia's Ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, at their May 10 White House meeting.
The following are reactions by Russian diplomats and political analysts to the U.S. media's speculations. These reactions in their majority see the U.S. media storm as an attempt to undermine via false allegations. Vladimir Putin joined this tendency when he commented: "[The U.S. media] are using anti-Russian slogans to destabilize the internal political situation in the United States, but they do not realize that they are harming their own country."
Trump with Lavrov (Source: facebook.com/maria.zakharova.167)
Pushkov's Tweet Storm
Senator Alexey Pushkov (@Alexey_Pushkov) tweeted: "If damage was inflicted on intelligence sources, it was the work of the Washington Post and the U.S. media, which initiated a new round of hysteria surrounding Trump."
(Twitter.com, May 17, 2017)
(Source: Twitter.com, May 17, 2017)
Pushkov tweeted further: "It turns out that the US media threw a tantrum, because he [Trump] informed us about ISIS's plans to blow our civil aircraft. He should not have done it! Monsters."
(Twitter.com, May 16, 2017)
(Source: Twitter.com, May 16, 2017)
Pushkov tweeted yet again: "Trump's opponents surrounded him like a wolf pack and are seeking any excuse to tear out his throat. The most recent excuse – his meeting with Lavrov"
(Source: Twitter.com, May 16, 2017)
(Source: Twitter.com, May 16, 2017)
Putin: 'We See The Growing Political Schizophrenia In The United States'
During a joint press conference with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, Putin was asked if Lavrov had briefed him on his recent meeting with Trump:
Q: "… I see Mr. Lavrov is here, and I want to ask, did he brief you on his recent meeting with President Trump? Also, how do you assess Trump’s action so far as U.S president?"
Putin: "As for the results of Foreign Minister Lavrov’s visit to the United States and his meeting with President Trump, we assess the results highly. This was the first visit, a return visit by our foreign minister, after we received U.S. Secretary of State Tillerson here in Moscow. This is normal and natural international practice. At the same time, however, we see the growing political schizophrenia in the United States. There is no other way I can explain the accusations against the current president that he handed whichever secrets over to Lavrov. "Incidentally, I spoke with him [Lavrov] today about this matter, and I will have to give him a ticking off for not sharing these secrets with me. Not with me, nor with our intelligence officials. This was really not good of him at all. What’s more, if the U.S. administration has no objection, we are ready to provide a transcript of Lavrov’s conversation with Trump to the U.S. Senate and Congress. Of course, we would do this only if the American administration so desires. Initially, when we watched the first developments in this internal political struggle, we were amused. But now, the spectacle is becoming quite simply sad, and it is causing us concern, because it is hard to imagine just how far people willing to think up this kind of nonsense and absurdity might go.
"All of this is ultimately about fanning anti-Russian sentiment. This does not surprise me. They are using anti-Russian slogans to destabilize the internal political situation in the United States, but they do not realize that they are harming their own country. If this is the case, then they are quite simply stupid. If they do understand what they are doing, then they are dangerous and unscrupulous people. In any event, this is the United States’ own affair and we have no intention of getting involved. As for assessments of President Trump’s actions so far in office, this too is not our affair. It is for the American people, American voters, to give their assessment. Of course, this will be possible only once he is fully allowed to work."
(Kremlin.ru, May 17, 2017)
Lavrov, accompanied by Russia's Ambassador to Washington Sergey Kislyak, meets Donald Trump at the White House (Source: Militarytimes.com)
Lavrov: 'Many U.S. Media Outlets Work According To A Principle Which Was Common In The Soviet Union'
During a press conference in Cyprus, following talks with Cypriote Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, Lavrov fielded a question about the reports that he had received classified information from Trump.
Q:"I would like to hear your opinion on the recent controversy surrounding reports that the U.S. President passed classified information to Russian officials. It was said to be 'wholly appropriate.' Some people say it is better to share information on fighting international terrorism. You yourself said that we should cooperate more. Will the information that was passed along save Russian lives?"
Lavrov: "…I sometimes get the impression that many U.S. media outlets work according to a principle which was common in the Soviet Union. Back then people used to joke that the newspaper Pravda [Truth] had no news in it, and the Izvestia [News] paper has no truth in it. I get the impression that many U.S. media operate in the same way.
"Regarding the substance of the issue, we do not comment on rumors. We read in your newspapers that the main accusations are centered on the following: allegedly, secrets were divulged regarding the terrorists' ability to put 'undetectable' explosives into computers, laptops, iPads and so on. If memory serves, maybe one or two months earlier, the Trump administration instituted a laptop ban for passengers from seven Middle Eastern countries, if I am not mistaken, which was directly connected to a terrorist threat. So if you are talking about that, I don’t see what the secret is."
(Mid.ru, May 18, 2017)
Russia's Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zakharova: You Can Use The U.S. Newspapers In Several Ways, But Do Not Read It
Commenting on the speculations that Trump had shared some classified information with Lavrov, Russia's Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova said: "We can’t say even now that the media are biased because they are openly fulfilling a political order."
(Tass.com, May 16, 2017)
Zakharova also wrote in her Facebook account: "Have just landed in Madrid. Switched on my phone and got flooded by dozens of messages: 'Maria Vladimirovna, is it true that Trump disclosed a major secret to Lavrov?'
"Guys, have you read again the American press? Don't do it. You may use this press in various ways, but don't read it – lately, it has become not only harmful, but even dangerous.
"Let me remind you, on May 11, I warned: in few days the American media, apparently, planned to come out with a "sensation" on the Lavrov – Trump meeting…"
(Facebook.com/maria.zakharova.167, May 16, 2017)
An American journalist is looking for hints that can link Trump to Russia. He then focuses on the letter "m", which reminds him of the Kremlin wall's upper decoration, in the belief that it could provide a clue that would lead to further information about Trump-Russia ties. (Vitaly Podovitsky, Ria.ru)
Russian Intellectual Lukyanov: 'A Question Arises: Who Really Disclosed The Secrets?'
Russian intellectual Fyodor Lukyanov, Editor-in-Chief of Russia in Global Affairs and Research Director of the Valdai Discussion Club, said: "The question arises: who really disclosed the secrets? President Trump divulged the information during a closed meeting with official representatives of a government, with which the U.S. shares common goals and objectives of fighting terror. The media, and those who supplied it with details of the talks, made this confidential information the domain of the broadest general public, including the details which placed the source of the information in real danger."
Lukyanov further added: "Unfortunately the current situation is unfolding in a way that Russia can't count on any effective work with this [U.S.] administration, disregarding the personal aspirations of Donald Trump. We may only imagine what will happen after Putin-Trump's meeting, and how many times Trump will be forced to make explanations and justify himself."
(Ria.ru, May 17, 2017)
Russian diplomat Sergey Ordzhonikidze, a former Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, said:
"This is utter stupidity. For one, in order to pass on any secret information at that level, a total convergence of interests between the two countries is needed. This is not happening between the U.S. and Russia. Secondly, the most sensitive intelligence information is never ever shared with even the closest allies. The U.S. media, frankly speaking, made my day, I laughed a lot. A systemic media bullying of the [U.S.] president is occurring. They could not come up with anything cleverer than 'spy" scandals'."
(Izvestia.ru, May 16, 2017)
Valdai Club Expert: What Is Happening Is Lowering The Window Of Opportunities For Normalizing U.S.-Russia Relations
Dmitry Suslov, program director of the Valdai Club, said: "It is painful, that what is currently happening is lowering the window of opportunities for normalizing U.S.-Russia relations. That is because in the current situation the administration will be even more cautious in building up its cooperation with Russia on Syria, and it will be less capable of taking reciprocal steps, which inevitably will be perceived as a retreat and a softening of positions."
(Ria.ru, May 17, 2017)
Petr Akopov, a columnist for the Russian media outlet Vzglyad, wrote: "It's obvious, that Trump finds it hard to conduct any serious work, given the coordinated attack on him by the media, intelligence community and part of Congress. At any given moment, any information might be 'leaked' and presented in an appropriate fashion... They are seriously hampering Trump's attempts to achieve any foreign policy work. The most important thing in bilateral relations is personal trust, and if Trump's counterparts doubt the President's ability to guarantee the meetings' confidentiality, then one can forget about serious foreign relations."
(Vz.ru, May 17, 2017)
Dmitry Trenin, Director of the Moscow Carnegie Center, told the Russian daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta: "Trump’s opponents are pushing for impeachment. It is not even important what happened there, or whether anything happened at all. This is only being used as a pretext for accusations. The political struggle is getting hotter in the United States.
(Tass.com, May 17, 2017)
Russian Political Analyst: '[Russia] Is Ready To Provide Information, Which Would Be Very Confidential In Other Circumstances'
Grigori Dobromelov, director of the Moscow-based Institute of Applied Political Research, said: "The U.S. internal political crisis hits new bottoms, when it seemed impossible for it to get worse. Weird events, which are taking place, demonstrate the growing inability of the American political system to cope with the schism that arose after Trump's election. The very fact that the president of a foreign state [Putin] is forced to comment upon this, shows how deep the contradictions within the U.S. political elites run.
"It's obvious that the U.S. media could not have asked the administration for the memos of the meeting. Nevertheless, since their goal is first and foremost to discredit Trump and his attempts to build a constructive dialogue with Russia, Russia too is ready for measures of unprecedented transparency. [Russia] is ready to provide information, which would be very confidential in other circumstances and would never be published."
(Ria.ru, May 17, 2017)
 See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 6923, Reactions To Lavrov's Meetings With Trump And Tillerson, May 14, 2017.