It was all going so well for the president, who spent the weekend holding the Saudi king’s glowing seeing stone and earning accolades for doing a decent imitation of an actual president. But this is Donald Trump we are talking about, which means that he was bound to get in his own way at some point. At a photo-op with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump stressed, for reasons that are unclear, that he “never mentioned” the word “Israel” when revealing classified information to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at a private Oval Office meeting earlier this month. “They were all saying I did,” Trump insisted, gesturing at the press. “So you had another story wrong.”
However, in its initial report, The Washington Post had not claimed that Trump had explicitly revealed the source of the intelligence. The source was later reported to be Israel by The New York Times, which also did not make such a claim.
Furthermore, the administration had not confirmed that Israel was the source. Until now, that is.
Just before Trump’s outburst, Netanyahu was claiming that the “intelligence cooperation is terrific” between Israel and the U.S. That might have been the last word on the subject, with the concern about frayed U.S.-Israeli intelligence ties fading under the warm welcome Netanyahu had extended to Trump. Now it’s a story again.