Donald Trump's administration is in "a downward spiral" after allegedly leaking classified information to Russian officials, a Republican senator has claimed, joining a chorus of condemnation in Washington.
"The White House has got to do something soon to bring itself under control and in order," Republican Senator Bob Corker said. "Obviously they're in a downward spiral right now and they've got to figure out a way to come to grips with all that's happening."
The Washington Post first reported that Mr Trump had released highly classified information about Isis to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week. Sources later confirmed the report to BuzzFeed News, adding that the disclosure was “far worse than what has already been reported".
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The information was reportedly obtained from an American ally through a highly sensitive intelligence-sharing arrangement.
Politicians on either side of the aisle quickly deemed the reports “disturbing,” “damning,” and “almost inconceivable”.
Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that so-called “code-word information” is one of the most highly classified forms of intel available.
“It would be almost inconceivable that any president would let something of that nature out,” Mr Leahy said.
Senator Mark Warner, vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Intelligence, echoed this sentiment, calling the disclosure “a slap in the face to the intel community”.
“Risking sources and methods is inexcusable, particularly with the Russians,” he tweeted.
Democratic Whip Dick Durbin called the reports "dangerous and reckless". Fellow Democrat Joe Manchin added that they appear "very damning, very damaging”.
If true, this is a slap in the face to the intel community. Risking sources & methods is inexcusable, particularly with the Russians. https://t.co/CRiSC024F7— Mark Warner (@MarkWarner)May 15, 2017
Several other Republicans cautiously denounced the leaks, while adding the disclaimer “if true”.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a frequent critic of Mr Trump, called the reports “troubling”. Fellow national security hawk Senator John McCain called the allegations “disturbing,” but later couched his remarks, adding: “We certainly don't want any president to leak classified information but the president does have the right to do that."
John McCain probably revealed less to the KGB in 5+ years of torture at the Hanoi Hilton than Trump did in 5 minutes in the Oval. https://t.co/mlq6ndE9FE— David Kochel (@ddkochel)May 15, 2017
Meanwhile, David Kochel, a fellow at the Harvard Institute of Politics, has compared Mr Trump's alleged indiscretion with Senator McCain's time as a prisoner of war. "John McCain probably revealed less to the KGB in 5+ years of torture at the Hanoi Hilton than Trump did in 5 minutes in the Oval," he tweeted.
US law permits the president to de-classify information at his or her own discretion.