Sessions did not disclose meetings with Russian ambassador on security clearance forms

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The Justice Department is acknowledging that Attorney General Jeff Sessions did not disclose meetings he had with the Russian ambassador to the United States last year when filling out his security clearance form -- a disclosure that an FBI official advised Sessions he didn't have to make since the meetings were through his official capacity as a U.S. senator, according to a department official.

The lack of disclosure about Sessions' two meetings with Russian Ambassador Secret Kislyak was first reported by CNN.

The encounters ultimately led to Sessions announcing in March that he was recusing himself from any investigation into Russian interference in last year's presidential election.

The documentation for Sessions' clearance requested a list of contacts with foreign governments or their representatives over a period of the previous seven years.

The Justice Department official with knowledge of the situation, explaining the FBI's recommendation, said that the stipulation would be particularly burdensome and broad for a senator.

The Justice Department's Deputy Director of Public Affairs Ian Prior issued a response to CNN's story Wednesday evening, portraying Sessions as having followed the instructions given to him.

"As a United States Senator, the Attorney General met hundreds—if not thousands—of foreign dignitaries and their staff," said Prior in the statement. "In filling out the SF-86 form, the Attorney General’s staff consulted with those familiar with the process, as well as the FBI investigator handling the background check, and was instructed not to list meetings with foreign dignitaries and their staff connected with his Senate activities."

Kislyak has been at the center of the Russian controversies swirling around the White House since Trump's election. His contact with former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and Flynn's actions to mislead the administration about the nature of their conversations lead to Flynn's forced resignation in February.

The ambassador was also present for a White House meeting earlier this month in which President Donald Trump shared classified intelligence.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Classified Senate briefing expands to include Russian cyber firm under FBI scrutiny

Mike Levine/ABC(WASHINGTON) -- Even with the Senate Intelligence Committee focused this week on its investigation of Russia's alleged meddling in last year's presidential election, the committee met behind closed doors Wednesday for a classified briefing from senior FBI and Homeland Security officials over another alleged threat emanating from Moscow: a major software company whose products are used widely across the United States.

The visit from FBI and Homeland Security officials has long been planned. But congressional sources told ABC News that in recent days the agenda expanded to specifically include an update on U.S. intelligence about Kaspersky Lab, a Moscow-based firm that has become one of the world’s largest and most respected cybersecurity firms.

Current and former U.S. officials worry that state-sponsored hackers could try to exploit Kaspersky Lab’s anti-virus software to steal and manipulate users’ files, read private emails or attack critical infrastructure in the U.S. And they point to Kaspersky Lab executives with previous ties to Russian intelligence and military agencies.

“We are very much concerned about this, very much concerned about the security of our country," Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, said about Kaspersky Lab at a recent Senate hearing.

The company has repeatedly insisted it poses no threat to U.S. customers and would never allow itself to be used as a tool of the Russian government.

But in a secret memorandum sent last month to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Senate Intelligence Committee raised possible red flags about Kaspersky Lab and urged the intelligence community to address potential risks posed by the company’s powerful market position.

“This [is an] important national security issue,” declared the bipartisan memorandum, described to ABC News by congressional sources.

In February, the Department of Homeland Security issued a secret report on the matter to other government agencies. And the FBI is in the midst of a counterintelligence investigation looking into the nature of Kaspersky Lab’s relationship to the Russian government, sources with knowledge of the probe told ABC News.

Among the high-level officials briefing senators today was FBI Assistant Director Gregory Brower, the head of the FBI's Office of Congressional Affairs.

During a televised Senate Intelligence Committee hearing two weeks ago, senior members of the U.S. intelligence community for the first time publicly expressed concern that Kaspersky Lab could pose a threat to the U.S. homeland.

At the hearing, the acting head of the FBI, Andrew McCabe, told the Senate Intelligence Committee that his agency is “very concerned about it … and we are focused on it closely.”

Robert Cardillo, the director of National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, said he is “aware of the Kaspersky lab challenge and/or threat.” CIA Director Mike Pompeo said the matter “has risen to the director of the CIA as well.” And the head of the National Security Agency, Adm. Mike Rogers, said he is “personally aware and involved” in “national security issues” associated with Kaspersky Lab.

Until those remarks at the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, such concerns have been communicated only behind closed doors and in private memos, as ABC News first disclosed in a report two days before the Senate hearing.

“I think we do ourselves a disservice by not speaking about this openly,” Michael Carpenter, who until January served as the Defense Department's deputy assistant secretary for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, told ABC News.

Products from Kaspersky Lab are widely used in homes and businesses throughout the U.S.

But ABC News found that -- largely through outside vendors -- Kaspersky Lab software has also been procured by such federal agencies as the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and even some segments of the Defense Department.

When Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, asked the panelists at the Senate hearing two weeks ago whether they’d be willing to use Kaspersky Lab software on their devices, Director of National Intelligence Coats said: “A resounding no from me.”

All five of the other U.S. intelligence officials unanimously agreed.

Manchin urged each of the U.S. officials testifying to verify that Kaspersky Lab software is not on their agencies’ systems.

In a statement issued after the first ABC News report, Kaspersky Lab insisted: "As a private company, Kaspersky Lab has no ties to any government, and the company has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage efforts.

"The company has a 20-year history in the IT security industry of always abiding by the highest ethical business practices, and Kaspersky Lab believes it is completely unacceptable that the company is being unjustly accused without any hard evidence to back up these false allegations," the statement continued.

"Kaspersky Lab is available to assist all concerned government organizations with any ongoing investigations, and the company ardently believes a deeper examination of Kaspersky Lab will confirm that these allegations are unfounded," the statement added.

In fact, the FBI and other agencies in the U.S. intelligence community have yet to publicly present any evidence connecting company executives with Russian security services. And sources who spoke with ABC News did not offer any evidence suggesting Kaspersky Lab has helped breach a U.S. system or taken hostile action on behalf of the Russian government.

"For 20 years, Kaspersky Lab has been focused on protecting people and organizations from cyberthreats, and its headquarters' location doesn't change that mission," Kaspersky Lab said in its statement. "[J]ust as a U.S.-based cybersecurity company doesn’t allow access or send any sensitive data from its products to the U.S. government, Kaspersky Lab products also do not allow any access or provide any private data to any country's government."

In an interview with ABC News, Eugene Kaspersky said, "My response if I’m asked to spy on anyone coming from any state, any government -— not only Russian —- will be definite 'no.'"

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Democrats flip 2 state legislature seats in Trump districts

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Could these be the first splashes of an impending blue wave?

Only time will tell, but Democrats have flipped two statehouse seats in New Hampshire and New York in districts won by Donald Trump.

Democrat Edie DesMarais narrowly defeated Republican Matthew Panche in New Hampshire last night, winning by 4 percentage points — just 56 votes. Trump won that district, 51 to 44 percent, according to an analysis by the Daily Kos.

Wolfeboro, the major city in that district, has long been a GOP stronghold in the statehouse — which has 400 members, the largest in the nation. Democrats have never won that district, according to the state's Democratic Party.

 "We are pleased to see that Democrats are showing up, working hard and turning out with a renewed sense of purpose," said New Hampshire House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff in a statement.

In New York, Democrat Christine Pellegrino defeated Republican Thomas Gargiulo, 58 to 42 percent — a dramatic reversal from Trump's 60 to 37 percent victory in that district, according to the Daily Kos.

Special elections at the federal level have had some positive indications for Democrats, but the party hasn't been able to pick up any victories.

Democrats lost narrowly in Kansas' 4th Congressional District in April, losing by 7 percentage points in a rural, conservative district that Trump won by nearly 30 percentage points in November. And Democrat Jon Ossoff came up just short of the 50 percent threshold needed to win Georgia's 6th Congressional District outright, with a runoff to be held next month.

A special election in Montana for its U.S. House seat is slated for Thursday. Republican multimillionaire tech executive Greg Gianforte faces off against Democratic populist singer-songwriter Rob Quist in the statewide district, which leans Republican, after Ryan Zinke vacated the seat to become the interior secretary.

Republicans have so far been successful at fending off Democratic challengers in major special elections over the last six months, despite Trump's broad unpopularity and polls showing an energized Democratic base.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


GOP health bill that passed House leaves 23 million more uninsured in 10 years

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The latest analysis of the GOP’s health care bill concludes that the plan would leave 14 million more people uninsured next year if it becomes law, a number that rises to 23 million by 2026.

The bill, known as the American Health Care Act, passed the House with only one vote to spare earlier this month.

The new analysis by the Congressional Budget Office shows little improvement in the number of uninsured from the scoring done on past iterations of the bill, which ultimately were not voted upon.

The CBO's estimate also indicates that the Republican health care plan would reduce the federal deficit by $119 billion oven ten years. The slight revision from the previous estimates will allow Senate Republicans to avoid a Democratic filibuster.

Senate budget rules require the AHCA to save $2 billion over ten years in order to be taken up under reconciliation – a process that would allow Senate Republicans to pass the bill with only 51 votes.

If the nonpartisan CBO determined that the bill didn't pass muster for reconciliation, Democrats would have been able to hold up the bill with filibuster, which could send the bill back to House Republicans to amend and hold another vote.

An earlier analysis of the bill estimated that 24 million Americans would lose health insurance by 2026 if it becomes law.

Wednesday's report also estimates that the GOP bill would raise premiums over time for people who are less healthy in states that seek and receive the controversial waivers from rules enforcing the coverage of pre-existing conditions from the Department of Health and Human Services.

The analysis appears to undermine the Republican argument that the proposal wouldn't impact Americans with pre-existing conditions. The CBO indicates that it would by making health care less affordable for some consumers.

"Community-rated premiums would rise over time, and people who are less healthy (including those with preexisting or newly acquired medical conditions) would ultimately be unable to purchase comprehensive nongroup health insurance at premiums comparable to those under current law, if they could purchase it at all," reads the report.

The report echoes earlier analyses which predicted that premiums could rise greatly for a portion of the population that would no longer receive tax credits at the rate it does under the current law -- namely, older and poorer policy holders.

The CBO's analysis of subsidies in 2026 indicates that net premiums for a 64-year-old earning $28,500 would rise from $1,700 to between $13,600-$16,100 under the AHCA, depending on whether the person lives in a state requesting waivers for market regulations.

Savings could become more common for wealthier individuals who would benefit from tax credits pegged to age rather than income, according to examples cited by the CBO. As the law stipulates, an individual earning $68,200 in the CBO's example receives the same credit as someone at the same age earning $28,500.

Republicans on Capitol Hill and in the White House have criticized the CBO for inaccuracies in its analysis of the impact of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. While the CBO overestimated the number of people who would ultimately receive insurance, it was correct in noting that the amount of those uninsured would fall.

With all CBO reports, Wednesday's analysis notes that there are a number of factors that contribute to the uncertainty of its forecasts but that it "endeavored to develop estimates that are in the middle of the distribution of potential outcomes."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


House Speaker Paul Ryan says Comey is not a 'nut job,' differs with Trump comments

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — House Speaker Paul Ryan said Wednesday he disagreed with President Trump’s description of former FBI Director James Comey as a "nut job."

"I don’t agree with that and he’s not," Ryan said in an interview with Mike Allen at a conference with media company Axios.

The New York Times reported Friday that Trump called Comey a "nut job" in his Oval Office meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, one day after he fired him from the FBI. The White House did not deny the report to ABC News.

"I like Jim Comey," Ryan said Wednesday. "I know that there are people on both sides of the aisle who are concerned about decisions he made."

Ryan said Comey was put in an "impossible position" at the FBI with the Clinton email investigation, after former President Bill Clinton met briefly with former Attorney General Loretta Lynch at an airport in Phoenix.

After that encounter, Lynch said she would accept the recommendation of the FBI in the investigation, recusing herself from leadership of the probe.

Ryan said he supported letting the Russian election interference investigations "take their course" at the Department of Justice and on Capitol Hill, declining to comment about items "under ongoing review."

He praised Trump’s "energy and engagement," noting his involvement in passing the GOP health care bill in the House.

"I’ve never seen a president ... get so deeply engaged on a person-to-person basis to help achieve a goal," he said.

The Wisconsin Republican also predicted that Congress would be able to send Trump a tax reform bill by December 23rd, the end of the legislative calendar.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Ex-Trump adviser Carter Page says he'll testify before House Intelligence Committee in June

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, told ABC News that he will testify before the House Intelligence Committee on June 6 as part of its ongoing investigation of Russia’s attempts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

He also confirmed to ABC News that he has retained legal counsel.

In a May 23 letter addressed to Representatives L. Michael Conway and Adam Schiff, the ranking members of the committee, Page outlined his objections to former CIA director John Brennan’s testimony Tuesday that Russia “brazenly interfered” in the election.

"I saw interaction that in my mind raised questions of whether it was collusion," Brennan said. "It was necessary to pull threads."

Page, however, dismissed Brennan’s claims as “false Russia conspiracy theories,” and provided a five-page “Appendix,” complete with footnotes, detailing a point-by-point protest.

“The vast majority of the open session testimony by Mr, Brennan and other Clinton/Obama regime appointees who have recently appeared before your committee loyally presented one biased viewpoint and base of experience.” Page wrote. “When I have my turn next month, I look forward to adding some accurate insights regarding what has really been happening in Russia over recent years including 2016.”

When reached for comment, a spokesman for Rep. Schiff said the congressman would not confirm or comment on upcoming witnesses. The committee has typically not announced its plans until much closer to a scheduled hearing.

Page, a New York businessman who owns a consulting firm called Global Energy Capital, joined the Trump campaign in March of 2016, but after he traveled to Moscow in July to deliver a speech at the New Economic School advocating for better relations with Russia, the campaign attempted to distance their candidate from Page.

In an interview with ABC News’ chief anchor George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America in April, Page wavered on whether he discussed easing sanctions against Russia with anyone in the Russian government during that trip.

"Something may have come up in a conversation," Page replied. "I have no recollection, and there's nothing specifically that I would have done that would have given people that impression."

"Someone may have brought it up," he continued. "And if it was, it was not something I was offering or that someone was asking for."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


GOP health care bill analysis to be released by Congressional Budget Office

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Republicans on Capitol Hill are preparing for the release of the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of the GOP health care bill that passed the House earlier this month.

The estimate of the American Health Care Act impact on the federal deficit could determine whether the Senate will take up the measure, which passed with only one vote to spare in the House.

Senate budget rules require the AHCA to save $2 billion over 10 years in order to be taken up under reconciliation — a process that would allow Senate Republicans to pass the bill with only 51 votes.

If the nonpartisan CBO determines that the bill doesn’t pass muster for reconciliation, Democrats would be able to filibuster the measure, which could send the bill back to House Republicans to amend and hold another vote.

Republican leadership aides say it's unlikely the bill won't meet the Senate requirements.

The CBO score will also include an estimate of whether the number of Americans with health insurance would change and by how much.

An earlier analysis of the bill estimated that 24 million Americans would lose health insurance under the GOP’s AHCA, compared to Obamacare.
Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Flynn hit with more subpoenas, may be held in contempt of Congress

Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The Senate Intelligence Committee has announced two new subpoenas against former national security adviser Michael Flynn to compel him to turn over documents related to his contact with the Russians, adding that Flynn risks being held in contempt of Congress if he does not comply with the requests.

Flynn invoked the Fifth Amendment and rejected the committee's subpoena request for documents relating to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election earlier this week. The Fifth Amendment gives an individual the right to avoid self-incrimination.

Briefing reporters following a closed-door intelligence meeting on Tuesday, Sens. Mark Warner, D-Virginia, and Richard Burr, R-North Carolina, said all options are on the table.

The Senate Intelligence Committee originally subpoenaed Flynn's personal documents on May 10, after he declined to cooperate with its April 28 request in relation to the panel's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible ties to Trump associates.

Before the April request, Flynn said through a statement from his lawyer that he wouldn't submit himself to questioning from the committee "without assurances against unfair prosecution."

The committee leaders are directing the two new subpoenas at Flynn’s Virginia-based businesses because businesses don’t have a right to plead the Fifth, Warner said.

“… While we disagree with Gen. Flynn's lawyers' interpretation of taking the Fifth, it's even more clear that a business does not have the right to take a Fifth if it's a corporation. One subpoena has been served, one is in the process of being served," Warner said.

The committee also sent a letter to Flynn's lawyer Tuesday addressing concerns that their original subpoena lacked specificity.

"We've been very specific in the documents now that we've requested from Gen. Flynn," Burr said.

A contempt charge is still a possibility.

"If in fact there is not a response, we will seek additional counsel advice on how to proceed forward. At the end of that option is a contempt charge and I've said that everything is on the table," Burr said. "That is not our preference today. We would like to hear from Gen. Flynn. We'd like to see his documents. We'd like him to tell his story because he publicly said 'I've got a story to tell.' We're allowing him that opportunity to do it."

But immunity is not on the table.

“It's a decision that the committee has made that we're not at the appropriate avenue in a potential criminal investigation. As valuable as Gen. Flynn might be to our counterintelligence investigation, we don't believe that it's our place today to offer him immunity from this committee,” he added.

With regard to former CIA Director John Brennan’s shocking testimony Tuesday morning that he confronted a Russian counterpart about election meddling last summer, Warner said the committee is now looking into it.

“We have to make sure we don’t see it coming forward again in the future. And what we're looking at now is to look at those contacts that Mr. Brennan spoke about and see what they were, how extensive they were and what they led to if anything," he said.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


The single county to watch in Montana's special election

ABC News(HELENA, Mont.) -- If you’re only watching one county in Thursday’s special election for Montana's lone U.S. House seat, it should be Lake County.

Wrapping around the base of Flathead Lake in rural northwest Montana, the county includes just three cities and towns, in addition to the Flathead Indian reservation and other rural areas. But this unassuming rural Montana area has had nearly perfect accuracy in predicting Montana's federal and gubernatorial statewide elections over the past two decades.

Republican multi-millionaire tech executive Greg Gianforte is slated to face off against Democratic populist singer-songwriter Rob Quist in this GOP-leaning U.S. House district on Thursday, after the seat was vacated by now-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

Republicans have held this U.S. House seat for the last two decades and are expected to hold onto it this week, but Montana has been known to split their tickets: they have a sitting Democratic governor and U.S. senator. And even though President Donald Trump won the state by more than 20 percentage points, its incumbent Democratic governor also won re-election in November.

But in November, Lake County pinpointed both candidates' support in both races within 1 percentage point.

The county did not match the statewide vote in the 2008 presidential race -- the only mismatch in federal or gubernatorial races in the last two decades -- siding with former President Barack Obama by a 49-47 percent margin while the overall state voted for Sen. John McCain by a 50-47 percent margin. The next closest election it missed? The U.S. Senate race in 1996.

Not only has Lake County called the correct winner with a shocking degree of accuracy; it's also precisely matched the support of each candidate in such statewide races.

Lake County has matched both major party candidates' statewide result within 2 percentage points or less in 22 of the last 26 federal and gubernatorial elections. It’s also predicted the statewide margin within an average of 2.5 percentage points since 2002 -- and a razor-thin 1.2 points in the last five such statewide races.

So what makes Lake County such a predictive swing county in Montana? It's home to fewer than 30,000 people in only three census-designated cities or towns.

Democratic-leaning areas are mostly located in the south of Lake County. The only precinct to vote for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race was in Arlee, a small town of 636 people dubbed the "southern gateway" to the Flathead reservation. Half of its population is "American Indian," according to the census, a demographic which tends to vote Democratic.

The former secretary of state defeated President Trump by a 50-43 percent margin there and it went for Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock by more than 30 percentage points.

Other small areas in the southern part of the county with large American Indian populations -- like St. Ignatius and Ronan -- also went for Bullock in the gubernatorial race in November. The eastern side of Polson -- the major city in Lake County located on the southern tip of Flathead Lake -- also went narrowly for Bullock.

But rural areas in the northern part of the county vote overwhelmingly for Republican candidates. One rural precinct near Swan Lake voted for Trump by almost 60 percentage points. Other strong GOP areas that voted for Gianforte in the gubernatorial race by double digits include Dayton, Ferndale and the western side of Polson.

And if there's one precinct to watch, it's the eastern side of downtown in the county's largest city: Polson. The 5th precinct nearly exactly matched both the Lake County and the Montana statewide margins in these two races. Trump won the precinct by 19 percentage points and Bollock won it by a single percentage point. Its eastern neighbor, the 7th precinct of Polson, is another one to watch.

The county also splits its representation in the state legislature among five Republicans and three Democrats, according to the county's website.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Former CIA chief Brennan had concerns about Russian contacts with Trump campaign

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former CIA Director John Brennan told Congress that U.S. intelligence found contact between Russian officials and people involved with the Trump campaign at a time in 2016 when the Russians were "brazenly" interfering in the presidential election.

"I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals," Brennan said Tuesday at an open session of the House Intelligence Committee. "And it raised questions in my mind again whether or not the Russians were able to gain the cooperation of those individuals,"

Brennan added, however, that he did not know whether any collusion existed as a result of those contacts. The president has dismissed such a possibility, saying there is no evidence of collusion.

Brennan testified that there was a "sufficient basis of information and intelligence that required further investigation" by the FBI to determine whether or not U.S. citizens were "actively conspiring, colluding" with Russian officials.

"I was worried by a number of the contacts that the Russians had with U.S. persons," he said.

The former CIA chief said he was concerned because of tactics that Russians are known to use, including trying to get individuals, including U.S. persons, to act on their behalf. Russian intelligence operatives won't identify themselves as Russians or as members of the Russian government; they will try to develop personal relationships with individuals and then over time, they will try to get those people to do things on their behalf, said Brennan.

"By the time I left office on January 20, I had unresolved questions in my mind as to whether or not the Russians had been successful in getting U.S. persons involved in the campaign or not to work on their behalf," he said.

When asked if Russia's contacts were with official members of the Trump campaign, Brennan repeatedly declined during the hearing to identify specific individuals because of the classified nature of the information.

Warning to the Russians

"It should be clear to everyone that Russia brazenly interfered in our 2016 presidential election process and that they undertook these activities despite our strong protests and explicit warning that they not do so," Brennan during his opening remarks at Tuesday's hearing.

He further testified that on Aug. 4, 2016, he warned the head of Russia's intelligence service that any continued interference would destroy near-term prospects for improvement of relations between Washington and Moscow and would undermine the chance of their working together on matters of mutual interest.

During that meeting with Alexander Bortnikov, the head of Russia's Federal Securities Bureau (FSB), Brennan said he warned that if Russia had such a campaign of interference underway, which had already been reported in the press, it would be "certain to backfire."

"I said that all Americans, regardless of political affiliation or whom they might support in the election, cherish their ability to elect their own leaders without outside interference or disruption," said Brennan.

The head of the FSB said Russia was not doing anything to influence the presidential election and claimed that Moscow is a traditional target of blame by Washington for such activities. Russia has since repeatedly denied any interference in the election.

Despite his denial, Bortnikov said he would inform Russian President Vladimir Putin of Brennan's concerns, Brennan said.

The former CIA chief said his meeting with Bortnikov was primarily focused on Syria, but that he also told the Russian official that Moscow's continued mistreatment of U.S. diplomats there was "irresponsible, reckless, intolerable, and needed to stop."

Several months after that meeting, in January of this year, a declassified U.S. intelligence report was released which found that Putin "ordered" a campaign to influence the election in an attempt by Russia to "undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process."

Russia also sought to denigrate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and harm her election prospects and potential presidency, U.S. intelligence agencies found at the time.

Trump's Oval Office meeting with the Russians

Brennan said it is not unprecedented to share intelligence with Russia or other partners. But he said if reports are true that Trump shared information with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at a White House meeting on May 10, it would have violated two protocols.

The first is that classified intelligence of this nature is not shared with visiting foreign ministers or local ambassadors, but rather through intelligence channels so that it's handled the "right way" and to make sure it is not exposed, Brennan said.

Secondly, before sharing any classified intelligence with foreign partners, it is important to go back to the originating agency to make sure that sharing the language and substance is not going to reveal sources and methods, potentially compromising future collection capability, said Brennan.

"So, it appears as though, at least from the press reports, that neither did it go in the proper channels, nor did the originating agency have the opportunity to clear language for it. So, that is a problem," said Brennan.

During the meeting, the president reportedly shared with the Russians intelligence information about ISIS that came from Israel.

Trump has defended his disclosure, arguing he has the right to share such information with Russia.

On Monday, while visiting Israel, Trump told reporters, "I never mentioned the word or the name Israel. Never mentioned it during our conversation."

ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

ABC News Radio