Ingraham: Leakers ‘Compromising Our International Relations’

LifeZette editor-in-chief says 'disturbing' disclosure 'more damaging' than Oval Office discussion

LifeZette Editor-in-Chief Laura Ingraham said someone in the U.S. intelligence community “wants to hurt” President Donald Trump just before he travels overseas for a “historic series of meetings,” during an appearance Tuesday on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends.”

A late-breaking report Monday from The Washington Post alleged, according to anonymous intelligence sources, that Trump improperly disclosed classified information to Russian officials during a meeting last week.

“They want to hurt Trump before he goes overseas for this historic series of meetings that no president has tried to undertake. That is what’s going on here.”

“There is someone burrowed into the intel community — at least one person — who wants to hurt Trump,” Ingraham said. “They want to hurt Trump before he goes overseas for this historic series of meetings that no president has tried to undertake. That is what’s going on here.”

The mainstream media, Democrats, and even a handful of skittish Republicans were quick to lampoon the president over the Post report, even as the White House forcefully pushed back on the circumstances of the disclosure.

“It was amazing to watch this unfold last night with the egregious feeding frenzy that took place, not just in newsrooms, but was jumped on by some Republican senators like Bob Corker,” Ingraham said, “who just take — lock, stock and barrel — whatever some leaker who gave information to The Washington Post said.”

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, White House Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell, and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, who all attended the meeting with Trump and Lavrov, all released statements pushing back on The Post report. McMaster noted “the story that came out tonight, as reported, is false.”

“The president and the foreign minister reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries, including threats to civil aviation,” McMaster added. “At no time, at no time, were intelligence sources or methods discussed, and the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known.”

The president slammed the report and the ensuing firestorm with a series of three tweets Tuesday morning.

“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 tweeted. “I have been asking Director Comey & others, from the beginning of my administration, to find the LEAKERS in the intelligence community.”

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During a Monday appearance on Fox News’ “Special Report,” Ingraham said sources told her the Post ran the story without any discussion with “the principals who were at the meeting.”

“They did not speak to Tillerson, they did not speak to Powell, and they did not speak to McMaster about the specific allegations that they were raising,” Ingraham said. “And if that’s the case — that’s what we are hearing at LifeZette — and if that’s the case how do you go on the record with the piece without talking to the principals at the meeting about the specific allegations?”

On Tuesday, Ingraham noted that the president’s tweets confirm the statements and indicate that the White House is being consistent in its story. Nevertheless, the president’s critics and the authors of The Post report pushed the idea that Trump’s behavior was irresponsible, though not illegal.

“They believe and they maintain that what the president revealed — while not illegal, because he has the right as the chief executive to declassify information if that’s what he chooses to do — they concede it’s not illegal, but that basically it’s irresponsible and could compromise those other source countries that are helping us and sources that are helping us in the fight against ISIS,” Ingraham said.

Ingraham maintained that the media and the president’s critics are seeking to keep Trump “off-narrative” and “off-message” with their constant barrage of hysterical claims.

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“He’s about to leave on this historic trip to the Middle East, to the Vatican — this is a big-deal trip. And anything they can do to knock him up and scar him up before he goes over there, they will do,” Ingraham said, noting that The Post’s report itself could be “more damaging than certainly whatever happened inside the Oval Office” itself.

The real problem in this whole controversy, Ingraham said, are the leaks that have plagued the White House since Trump took office in January.

“This problem continues to plague this administration. And whatever they need to do to stop irresponsible leaks or disgruntled employees from rushing to the media, they ought to do because they are the ones who are compromising our international relations,” Ingraham said.

“In my view, what is compromising U.S. intel interests is a senior-level intel officer, intermediate-level [officer] … who clearly, and in the subsequent reporting, seems to be the one who got this ball moving down the field last night in this Washington Post report,” Ingraham added. “That is really disturbing. That is a crime.”

“Again, the leaks inside this administration are hurting both their functioning and the security of this country, not what was said in this meeting with [Russian Foreign Minister Sergey] Lavrov and [Russian Ambassador Sergey] Kislyak. That is ridiculous,” Ingraham said.

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