Putin Dismisses Trump Intel-Sharing Furor As ‘Political Schizophrenia’

WASHINGTON (AP) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed the ongoing scandal around President Donald Trump sharing classified intelligence with Russian officials as “political schizophrenia.”

Trump came under fire earlier this week after it was revealed that he shared the sensitive intelligence with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergei Kislyak.

Speaking at a joint news conference with the visiting Italian prime minister on Wednesday, Putin said he had “no other explanation” as to why Trump came under attack other than “political schizophrenia.” Putin even suggested that Russia share the records of last week’s talks between Trump and Lavrov with the U.S. Congress, if the White House approved.

Putin also described U.S. politicians whipping up “anti-Russian sentiment” as either “stupid” or “dangerous.”

Putin joked that that he would reprimand Lavrov because “he hasn’t shared those secrets with us.”

Putin said Moscow initially found debates about Russia’s meddling in U.S. politics as “funny” but said Moscow is now “concerned because it’s hard to imagine what the people who produce such nonsense can come up with next.”

Asked what he thinks of Trump presidency, Putin said it’s up to the American people to judge but his performance can only be rated “only when he’s allowed to work at full capacity,” implying that someone is hampering Trump’s efforts.

Meanwhile, the White House on Tuesday defended Trump discussing an Islamic State group terror threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft with Lavrov and Kislyak.

Speaking to Russian news agencies on Wednesday Yuri Ushakov, an aide to Putin, would not comment the contents of last week’s talks among Trump, Lavrov and Kislyak.

Ushakov said “any contacts” with the U.S. president are “important” but he would not reply to the question whether the classified information that Trump reportedly shared with Lavrov and Kislyak was valuable for Russia.

The White House is also disputing a report that President Trump asked former FBI Director James Comey to shut down an investigation into ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn.

The New York Times says Trump made the request to Comey during a February meeting. The newspaper cites a memo Comey wrote following the meeting.

The White House issued a furious denial after the notes were disclosed late Tuesday, near the end of a tumultuous day spent beating back potentially disastrous news reports from dawn to dusk.

The bombshell Comey news came as the beleaguered administration was still struggling mightily to explain Monday’s revelation that the president had disclosed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and the country’s ambassador to the United States.

Defending Trump’s actions, officials played down the importance and secrecy of the information, which had been supplied by Israel under an intelligence-sharing agreement, and Trump himself said he had “an absolute right” as president to share “facts pertaining to terrorism” and airline safety with Russia.

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