Fox News' Shepard Smith took a jab Monday at President Donald Trump over the report that he had jeopardized a spy who had infiltrated ISIS when he allegedly bragged about U.S. intelligence to Russian envoys in a recent meeting.
"President Trump addressed a recent controversy as well," Smith said on "Shepard Smith Reporting." "At a meeting with the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Trump responded to a report that he may have jeopardized an Israeli intelligence source by sharing highly classified information with the Russians in the Oval Office."
"I never mentioned the word or the name 'Israel' — never mentioned it," President Trump said, defending himself next to Netanyahu when confronted on the story. "They're all saying I did, so you had another story wrong.
"Never mentioned the word 'Israel,'" Trump repeated.
"That's not what they reported," Smith challenged. "The Washington Post newspaper and others reported on the sharing of the intelligence. None ever claimed that President Trump identified the source as an Israeli. They never reported that they identified him."
"Though apparently, he just did," Smith said, pausing for emphasis.
"The Post and others reported the information itself may have allowed the Russians to figure out the source, that was the reporting, nothing more," Smith said.
Smith aired a clip of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson responding to a reporter about the incident with the Russian envoys.
"Does the president plan to apologize for telling the Russians the Israeli intelligence on Islamic State?" the reporter asked.
"I don't know that there's anything to apologize for," Tillerson responded simply.
"There are some concerns though, that he did release intelligence without the Israelis' permission," she pressed.
"I think to the extent the Israelis have any questions or need clarification, I'm sure we're happy to provide that," Tillerson said.
Trump's denial alongside Netanyahu appeared to follow in the narrative that was put out by his national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, after the story broke. McMaster addressed the media and said that no sources were identified by Trump to the Russians in the meeting. But as many have noted, that was not the claim made by the Washington Post — in fact, they specifically said he didn't directly mention the source of the intelligence in their report:
Trump went on to discuss aspects of the threat that the United States only learned through the espionage capabilities of a key partner. He did not reveal the specific intelligence gathering method, but described how the Islamic State was pursuing elements of a specific plot and how much harm such an attack could cause under varying circumstances. Most alarmingly, officials said, Trump revealed the city in the Islamic State’s territory where the U.S. intelligence partner detected the threat.
McMaster's denial was further undermined the next day when Trump tweeted what sounded like a confirmation of the story that he had shared information about the Islamic State.
As President I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining....— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1494932616.0
...to terrorism and airline flight safety. Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism.— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1494933180.0
The statement that he has "the absolute right" to share information appeared to refer to his executive power to declassify any information at a whim. But that also seemed to imply that he spilled previously classified information to the Russians, as was the original reporting by the Post.
Before Monday, the White House had declined to confirm if Israel had been the source of the intelligence Trump shared with the Russians.