They were rivals back during the presidential primary, but it looks like Marco Rubio is now sticking up for Donald Trump in the wake of the Washington Post story alleging that Trump leaked intel to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during a recent Oval Office visit.
Rubio appeared on CBS’s Face the Nation this morning, and twice addressed the story that has dominated headlines for the past week. When asked by host John Dickerson about comments Trump allegedly made about former FBI director James Comey during that meeting, Rubio instead chose to address the accuracy of media reports about the meeting:
“Well, I haven’t seen the notes,” Rubio said. “People that were in that meeting, they denied that anything had been said in that meeting that could compromise sources, methods, or information with regards to intelligence.
“They said there were no transcripts. They said there were notes. I encouraged them to make those notes available to the committees. That has not happened. And, of course, apparently someone has discussed them, or leaked them, or what have you.”
Dickerson revisited the topic later in the interview, asking Rubio:
“The president said he was giving information to the Russians in that meeting in order to help them, quote, ‘Greatly step up their fight against ISIS and terrorism.’ Do you think that’s a possibility?”
In replying, Rubio pointed out that this may not have been a leak at all, especially if the Russians already knew the supposedly leaked information:
“Well, two things. First of all, I don’t know what the Russians knew already, number one. Or at least I won’t discuss that,” Rubio shot back, hinting that even if Trump did discuss classified information with the Russians, it may not have been information they didn’t already know.
“Number two, I’m not sure that’s what the president did, that he gave them that sort of information. Everybody that was in the room that I’ve spoken to denies that that’s what happened.”
Marco Rubio serves on both the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Select Committee on Intelligence, so while it’s not a full throated defense of Trump, he’s certainly a credible source casting doubt on the WaPo’s story.