Donald Trump’s sharing of alleged classified intelligence to Russian officials in the White House has come under scrutiny amid a large-scale attack by the Hamas Islamist military group against Israel.
In May 2017, the former president defended his actions after he was found to have discussed sensitive details about an alleged Islamic State (ISIS) plot with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office. Trump said he had an absolute right to do so. The intel was said to have been provided to the U.S. from Israel.
It was suggested at the time that the former president’s handing over sensitive information from Israel could have damaged the relationship between the two countries. It also could have raised the possibility that the details could be passed from Russia to Iran, the Gulf nation that is a fierce adversary of Israel and has long supported Hamas.
On Saturday, Hamas, designated a terrorist group by the U.S. and the European Union, launched a large-scale attack against Israel, resulting in the deadliest day of violence in the Israel-Palestine conflict for decades. More than 700 people have been killed in Israel, and a further 400 in Gaza, since the incursion by Hamas, according to the Associated Press.
On social media, a number of people believe that Trump’s handing over of Israeli information may have resulted in Iran assisting the Palestinian group.
Thom Hartmann, author and political commentator, posted on X, formerly Twitter, while sharing a 2017 article from The Washington Post: “Hamas apparently knew how to get around Israel’s Iron Dome defenses. They probably learned this from Iran. Iran almost certainly got the information from Russia. And who gave it to Russia? Sure looks like it was Donald Trump, at the request of Putin.”
Allison Gill, who tweets using the account for the Mueller, She Wrote podcast, added: “Don’t forget: Trump gave Israeli intelligence to Russians in the Oval Office 6 years ago. Putin armed Iran in exchange for drones to attack Ukraine.”
While sharing a link of its own reporting of Trump’s handing over of sensitive materials, the Meidas Touch X account posted: “FLASHBACK: Trump shared classified intelligence from Israel with Russia—and admitted to it. Israeli intelligence feared it would end up in the hands of Iran.”
“This isn’t hard to follow,” added musician and author Mikel Jollett. “Trump gave military intel to the Russians. The Russians, who are extremely close allies with Iran, gave it to Iran. Iran gave that information to Hamas. Hamas used it to attack Israel. This is why intel security matters. Republicans DO NOT CARE.”
Newsweek has contacted Trump’s office for comment via email.
“We have not yet seen evidence that Iran directed or was behind this particular attack, but there is certainly a long relationship,” Blinken added.
In 2017, Trump defended sharing sensitive intel with Russia at the White House (WH), saying it was necessary for security reasons.
“As president, I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled WH meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety,” Trump wrote. “Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against Isis and terrorism.”
Trump is due to go on trial in May 2024 accused of retaining classified documents after he left the White House in January 2021, and then obstructing the federal attempt to retrieve them from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Springs, Florida. The former president has pleaded not guilty to 40 charges as part of the criminal case and has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.