Reports that President Trump gave Russian officials highly classified information make Russian President Vladimir Putin think "the United States has been developing political schizophrenia," Putin says.
"This is the only thing I can think of when I hear allegations saying that the president has revealed some secrets to [Russian Foreign Minister Sergey] Lavrov," Putin said Wednesday, two days after revelations emerged about Trump's meeting with Lavrov and another Russian diplomat, Sergey Kislyak, in the Oval Office last week.
The Russian president said he's prepared to provide a transcript of the meeting to members of the U.S. Congress, where lawmakers have raised questions and criticisms over the news that Trump had shared valuable intelligence about ISIS that was gleaned by a U.S. ally.
Putin's offer set off alarm bells for many who've been watching the case, as what NPR's Lucian Kim referred to as an offer of a transcript was also translated as an offer of a "record" or "recording" — feeding speculation over Russia's own intelligence-gathering that centers on the U.S.
After White House officials denied that the president had shared data inappropriately, Trump said that he has "the absolute right" to share information with the Russians.
Putin jokingly said of Lavrov, "I will have to reprimand him because he shared these secrets neither with me nor with the Russian secret services which is very inappropriate on his part."
The Russian leader's comments were translated by state-run Tass media. We're awaiting the Kremlin's full translation of his remarks.
From Moscow, Lucian Kim reports that Putin also said that it's up to the American people, not Russia, to assess Trump's performance. "But he should be allowed to do his work," Lucian quotes Putin saying.
Putin spoke at a time when in the U.S., talk of impeaching Trump has migrated from the fringes of political discourse to the mainstream, as NPR's Domenico Montanaro reports today.
Of course, Domenico adds, "It is highly unlikely — there's almost zero chance — Trump would be impeached by a Republican Congress."