Confusion at the upper levels of US government was on display Monday as the White House scrambled to respond to a report that President Donald Trump disclosed highly classified information to Russian officials last week.
The White House issued a statement from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson after the publication of a Washington Post report saying that Trump had revealed highly sensitive intelligence to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak in the course of a conversation about ISIS.
The only issue: State Department officials had no idea the statement had come out, learning about it only from CNN.
It was more than 20 minutes later before Tillerson's agency released the same terse 44-word statement that echoed the phrasing other administration officials are using to try to shoot down the Post report.
"I can't remember a single time -- and I've worked for two secretaries of defense as well as the secretary of state -- where the principal, a cabinet official, put out a public statement about something this big and this newsworthy where the communication staff and staff in general wasn't aware, wasn't tracking it, wasn't helping edit it, wasn't pushing it out," Kirby added.
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