MIAMI – South Florida politicians reacted Tuesday to reports that President Donald Trump shared highly classified information last week with Russian officials.
"We have protocols (that) all of us have to follow," U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said. "Even as president of the United States, he might have the right to declassify information, but there are protocols and processes that you have to go through, that every president has to go through, to protect the United States, our national security interests and all Americans.
"President Trump should be banned from getting access to highly classified, sensitive information because he puts our national security interests at risk."
Trump said on Twitter that he wanted to share with Russia "facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety." He noted that as president, he has an "absolute right" to do that.
"No one is doubting that you have the right to declassify information. It's not about your power or what you have a right to do," U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) said. "You have the power to fire the FBI director. You have lots of powers. That doesn't mean you use it and abuse it."
U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) also spoke about the incident, saying that Trump sharing classified information with the Russians "puts at risk our relationship with our allies."
Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) noted on Twitter that Russia is not America's ally.
"Putin and the Russian regime are dangerous players in the global arena," he wrote. "They're not our allies and can't be trusted with sensitive, classified info."
The Washington Post reported Monday that Trump divulged highly classified "code-word" information that could enable the Russians to trace the source of the intelligence.
Trump added a line in his tweet suggesting why he did it: "Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism."
Trump's national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, has denied the reports, telling reporters Monday after the story broke: "I was in the room. It didn't happen."
Intelligence officials have said that there is concern that Russia will be able to figure out the "highly sensitive source."
McMaster said on Tuesday that the president likely didn't know where the U.S. got the information.