MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday he would be willing to provide the U.S. Congress a record of President Trump’s meeting with top Russian envoys, bringing scoffs on Capitol Hill that the Kremlin could help shed light on the disclosures of reportedly highly classified intelligence.
The provocative offer for the Kremlin to share evidence with U.S. oversight committees about the Oval Office meeting came with the caveat that the request for the transcript would have to come from the Trump administration.
Presenting a transcript is the Kremlin’s latest gambit in denying that Trump shared classified secrets last week with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russia’s ambassador to the United States during an Oval Office meeting.
But the tactic may have more to do with attempts to sow further chaos in Washington than assuage suspicions about the talks.
The Kremlin has denied reports that Trump shared classified secrets last week with Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. But Trump’s full comments to the Russian envoys have not been made public.
As reported first by The Washington Post, Trump in a meeting with Lavrov and Kislyak shared classified information about an Islamic State plot to smuggle a bomb disguised as a laptop aboard a passenger plane. Subsequent reports have suggested the intelligence was provided by the Israeli government and was so sensitive that it was not shared even with the United States’ closest allies.
Putin’s remarks left some ambiguity as to the nature of the records. While the word zapis in Russian could indicate an audio recording, an aide told reporters that Putin was referring to a transcript, the Reuters news agency reported.
If there were any question as to whether Putin was trolling the White House, he playfully ribbed his foreign minister during the news conference, saying he would have to censure Lavrov “for not sharing these secrets with us.”
“Neither with me nor with our intelligence services,” he continued. “That’s very bad on his part.”
Putin said that a “political schizophrenia” had gripped the United States and that it was “eliciting concern” in Russia.
“If the administration of the United States deems this possible, we will be ready to provide a transcript of the Lavrov-Trump meeting to the U.S. Senate and Congress,” Putin told reporters during a news conference with visiting Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni. Putin added, “It will happen if the U.S. administration wishes so.”
Rep. Adam B. Schiff (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, dismissed Putin’s offer.
“Probably the last person the person [Trump] needs to vouch for him right now is Vladimir Putin,”…