- The Washington Times - Monday, May 22, 2017

President Trump insisted in a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Monday that he “never” revealed to Russia that Israel was the source of an intelligence report about the Islamic State.

“I never mentioned the word or name ‘Israel,’” Mr. Trump told reporters at the conclusion of a meeting with Mr. Netanyahu in Jerusalem. “Never mentioned it during that conversation [with the Russians].”

Mr. Netanyahu downplayed reports that the Israeli government was infuriated by Mr. Trump’s actions two weeks ago in a White House meeting with Russian diplomats.

“The intelligence cooperation is terrific. It’s never been better,” Mr. Netanyahu said.

The president said news reports about intelligence breaches during his meeting with the Russians were erroneous.

“Never mentioned the word ‘Israel,’” Mr. Trump repeated. “They’re all saying I did, so you have another story wrong.”

During a meeting two weeks ago with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Mr. Trump reportedly revealed classified information about an Islamic State plot to down commercial airliners with bombs hidden in laptop computers. He allegedly identified the Middle Eastern city where the report originated, which pointed to Israel as the source of the intelligence.

The incident is especially sensitive because Russia and Iran are backing the Syrian government in its six-year civil war. Iran is a well-known sponsor of Islamist terrorism and an avowed enemy of Israel.

In his comments Monday with the Israeli prime minister, Mr. Trump again criticized the nuclear deal that the Obama administration reached with Iran in 2015 that lifted economic sanctions in return for limits on Tehran’s nuclear program.

“It was a terrible thing for the United States to enter that deal. Iran will never have a nuclear weapon, that I can tell you,” Mr. Trump told Mr. Netanyahu. “Iran should be very grateful to the United States because Iran negotiated a fantastic deal with the previous administration. We gave them a lifeline. We not only gave them a lifeline, we gave them wealth and prosperity. We also gave them an ability to continue with terror.”

He said the signs of Iran’s destabilizing influence in the Middle East are everywhere.

“No matter where we go, whether it’s Syria, where we were forced to shoot the 59 missiles,” he said, referring to a U.S. strike last month in retaliation for a Syrian chemical-weapons attack on civilians.

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