Trump inadvertently reveals that Israel provided the intelligence he shared with Russia

Defending himself against a charge no one ever made, Donald Trump makes another serious error

By Matthew Sheffield

Published May 22, 2017 12:58PM (EDT)

 (Menahem Kahana, Pool via AP)
(Menahem Kahana, Pool via AP)

During a Monday news conference with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Donald Trump inadvertently confirmed that the sensitive intelligence information he shared with the Russian foreign minister came from Israel.

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"Just so you understand, I never mentioned the word or the name 'Israel,'" the president volunteered as journalists were packing up their materials to leave. "Never mentioned it during that conversation," Trump said. "They were all saying I did. So you had another story wrong. Never mentioned the word 'Israel.'"

Trump was seemingly referencing a May 15 report by The Washington Post that included allegations that he had disclosed significant intelligence information about the so-called Islamic State to Russia's foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov.

While other news sources have claimed that the information disclosed by Trump was from Israel, the White House has not officially responded to that allegation. The president's unsolicited aside after his meeting with Netanyahu makes it almost impossible to believe otherwise.

The Israeli prime minister has been one of only a few heads of state who have expressed strong support for Trump's policies. In January Netanyahu seemingly endorsed the president's idea of a border wall, alluding to one that the state of Israel had built for itself several years ago.

Matthew Sheffield

A writer, web developer, and former tv producer, Matthew Sheffield covers politics, media, and technology for Salon. You can email him via or follow him on Twitter.

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Donald Trump Israel Russia