Casey criticizes latest Trump news, while Toomey says he needs more facts

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | May 16, 2017 12:54 PM

(Harrisburg) -- Pennsylvania's two US Senators have very different reactions to reports that President Donald Trump told Russian officials highly classified information.

Democrat Bob Casey is highly critical, while Republican Pat Toomey is in a wait-and-see mode.

Soon after the report was first published by the Washington Post, a post on Casey's twitter account said President Trump's carelessness with classified information is endangering crucial intelligence.

The Democrat also highlighted House Speaker Paul Ryan's comments last year about Hillary Clinton's handling of emails.

At the time, Ryan said that anyone who is careless with classified information should be denied access in the future.

Senator Casey appears to have been largely quiet on the issue of Clinton's email security.

But Republican Pat Toomey isn't going as far as Paul Ryan did in 2016.

Asked in a conference call about President Trump's tweets from this morning that acknowledge he shared some type of information about terrorism with the Russians, Toomey said he didn't have the facts.

"I would like to see exactly the text of what he said, exactly what he said in what context, this is the first time hearing that," he said.

Toomey said he has been on the road.

"If the president divulged information that exposes our sources and methods to the Russians who obviously are adversaries of the United States, then that could be a very imprudent decision, despite the fact that it wouldn't be illegal," he added.

The Republican had once called Hillary Clinton's handling of emails completely and permanently unacceptable.

A full statement from Sen. Bob Casey is below:

"By sharing highly classified intelligence with a foreign adversary, President Trump has made our nation less safe. President Trump's inappropriate disclosure risks exposing the source of this intelligence and the methods by which it was obtained; not only does this endanger the source of the intelligence but it may give our allies caution before sharing vital information with U.S. intelligence agencies. Any president can legally declassify intelligence information.  However, this is not a question of legality. Rather it's about the appropriate use of highly classified, sensitive intelligence and how to use that intelligence in a manner that will increase the likelihood that the U.S. and our coalition partners will defeat ISIS and keep our country safe. This disclosure to Russian officials undermines that effort."  

Since publication of this story, Sen. Pat Toomey's office offered a more extensive statement:

"Russia is not a friend to the United States, and protecting our country's classified information from our adversaries is essential. While it is fully within the President's powers to manage classified information and direct our country's foreign policy, if classified information was divulged without good reason, it could not only be extremely imprudent, but also hamper our ability to gather intelligence in the future. I appreciate General McMaster and Secretary Tillerson sharing additional details, but I hope the Administration comes forward and provides a full explanation of the facts to Congress soon."

This story has been updated to add context.

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