it is an audio-only briefing. take a listen. >> -- with those on capitol hill who were asking to see some information. >> i think there was three individuals in the room. secretary of state tillerson, national security director and deputy national security director who were all in that and all have put out statements regarding that. >> i understand they want to see transcripts -- >> well, i haven't seen anything. what i'm telling you is that i think there are three individuals in that meeting that said it. what has occurred today or over the last little while in terms of these leaks is, frankly, dangerous. the idea that someone who has been given access to information is pushing that information out into the media, undermines our national security. i don't think there is any other way to say it, that it is frankly dangerous. >> is israel the ally here that provided information that the president then shared with the russians. it is our reporting that that is the case. can you please speak to that? >> i cannot comment specifically on that. i'm obviously pleased to see ambassador dormer's comment. we appreciate the relationship that we have with israel and appreciate the exchange of information that we have with them. that being said, i'm not going to comment any further on that. >> my last question for you just gets to the question of credibility that a lot of folks over on capitol hill have been asking over the last maybe 18 or so. president himself tweeted that his surrogates can't stand at this podium with perfect accuracy. are you concerned when you have yourself, when you have general mcmaster up here, that people don't perhaps trust or find the statements being made are credible go. >> i think i addressed this last week. we do everything we can to provide you with the most updated information at the time. py think general mcmaster stood at this podium a few hours ago and made it very clear he stands by what he said. so i'm not entirely sure. he put out the statement. secretary tillerson put out one and deputy national security advisor for strategy put one out as well. >> you are not concerned about eroding credibility? >> of course. obviously, no one would ever want that. but i suggest to you that the statements that were put out last night are completely consistent and the people who put them out stand by them. >> were they the only ones in the room? my last question. >> i'm sure that -- i don't know the answer to that. i'll follow up with it. i'm not going to necessarily provide you with information that they're not comfortable providing in terms of who was or wasn't in the room. that's something that's up to the president. >> sean, do you believe that this is a case of the intelligence community or elements in the intelligence community actively seeking to undermine the president and his foreign policy as he seeks to build a closer relationship with russia? >> i don't think it is appropriate for me to -- but i will tell you when you look at that story, it was -- it would be impossible for the president to reveal the source of the information because as general mcmaster made very clear, as he was leaving this podium, the president wasn't briefed on the information and wasn't aware of the source. so the president wasn't aware of this. this wasn't part of his briefing, so therefore to suggest that therefore he revealed it is impossible. >> you did say undermining. you suggest it's, frankly, dangerous. >> it is. >> what's the president going to do about it? >> again, that in itself is a whole process and i am not at liberty to get into that. it is frankly something i wouldn't even be aware of. >> one more question. is it the president's position that he can at any time declassify anything he chooses? he tweeted this morning he has the absolute right to talk to the russians about whatever he wants to. is that what he's saying there, that he can declassify anything? >> several issues. one is he can obviously -- there is information that is shared with countries all the time on common threats or common areas of interest. then there is a second question that you are asking which is classification authority. my i understanding is the president of course has classification authority. they're not synonymous though. president can always discuss common threats or common issues with host nations -- excuse me, with other heads of government or other government officials as he deems appropriate to tackle the threats that our country faces. but that's -- just so you are clear, there are two separate issues. but, yes, he does, on the second, because that's not a question of what he thinks. that's sort of like a fact. >> just to clarify, last thing that general mcmaster said, so the president wasn't aware -- this wasn't a part of his briefing so to suggest he revealed it is impossible. are you saying that the president didn't say what is being reported? >> i'm not going to get into the content of the conversation. what i will say, it wasn't part of his briefing. so if that wasn't part of it, to suggest that therefore he released something would not -- it just defies logic. >> so if it wasn't part of his briefing, in a way was there a -- >> again, look, i'm not -- >> -- was there a failure that it didn't rise to the level? >> no. i'm sorry, that's a good point. it is not routine -- again, i'm not going to say it doesn't happen, but generally speaking when the president is briefed -- and it is not just this president. when presidents are briefed, with th they are presented with outcomes, here's threats that we face. there's always -- it is not always common that therefore they would get into all the sources and methods that undermines it. that's just not always how it happens. so they are presented with here are the threats that we face, here are the circumstances, here are the issues that are in front of you. >> i guess what i'm asking, you think he was fully prepared going into this meeting? >> of course. >> sean, just two for you. can you say whether or not there is an active investigation these leaks are formal or informal? >> i cannot. >> one more. something that general mcmaster declined to answer on two occasions from behind that podium that's causing some unhappiness on the hill, the refusal to say whether the weather wall is in israel or not. can you explain why you guys can't answer that question? >> the western wall is obviously one of the holiest sites in the jewish faith. it is clearly in jerusalem. but there's then -- it's an issue that is -- had serious consideration. it will be a topic that's going to be discussed during the president's trip between the parties that he meets with. but obviously i think this stems from a comment that was made yesterday and which was not the policy of the united states. and so i think just because -- so just to be clear about what was said yesterday. >> can you talk briefly about the ripple of information and how it came out of the meeting that occurred last week in the oval office with the representatives of the russian government? trying to better understand where and how this information could have leaked. >> i don't --fy kn fif i knew - mean i don't know. >> talking about as a national security threat, you've spoken with the president obviously about this. what's his thinking on the information that leaked, and if there were -- what does he think about the article that was released by "the washington post"? >> well, i think consistent with what he has said for a long time, that the leaks of classified information or sensitive information represent -- there is a reason that they're classified. nonauthorized disclosure of them present a threat to national security. >> sean, there's been reporting that suggests israel is the country that provided that intelligence to the u.s. whether it was israel or not, lass the administration had contact with the allies to potentially smooth over any complications that might have arisen from this being shared with the russians? >> have we ---ism a he sorry. >> have you reached out to the country that provided that intelligence? >> obviously i'm not going to get into that kind of discussion. what i will see is, as i mentioned earlier, that we appreciate the strong relationship that we have with israel with respect to intelligence sharing and hope to continue to grow that bond. but i'm not going to comment on specifically where it came from. veronica. >> sean, can we get a white house reaction or the president's reaction to the report that said -- >> i'm not aware. generally i don't get updates on former dnc staffers. >> it would certainly have a great influence on where the leaks came from. there are a lot of implications in the story, of course. >> i understand that. but for me to comment from here about an ongoing investigation, i believe it is still ongoing. i don't even know the status of it in terms of d.c. but it would be highly inappropriate to do that. >> thank you, sean. two questions. first, the nature of the information that the president is alleged to have shared are the kinds of things that the five "is," allies, sha among each other. is this a sign that that list could be expanded or that the president is considering expanding the five "is," the allies we share intelligence with on a regular basis? >> i would just go back to the point that i think, whether it's this particular country or any other, it is quite common place for us to share information on common threats that our countries face or two countries face. or a variety of other information that is considered a threat. it is a very commonplace thing to occur. >> and the other thing is, what's lost in all of this was that the president met with dr. kissinger. what advise did dr. kissinger give him on anything? was there any readout of their conversation? >> i didn't get one at the time. generally speaking, we don't get readouts of that. >> -- given that you've got the story that landed in your lap today, i'm sure you heard senator corker say that this white house is in a downward spiral. how do you view the current state of things right now? is a downward spiral fair? unfair? is chaotic fair, unfair? and does this white house need a reset? >> well, i think we're doing -- the president's committed to enacting his agenda. he feels very strongly about what he's doing and why he is doing it. the leaks that occurred today are not helpful. first and foremost, the national security, beyond any other issue. but obviously we're very -- the president's very proud of the work and the accomplishments that he's had in these first few months and looking forward to this trip around the country -- around the world that i think is really going to continue to grow the relationships that he's already started to build. >> is there any soul searching that's being done, any reflection that -- or any blame even being placed for sort of the current state of chaos, if you will, inside the west wing or your colleagues, the president himself? >> i guess the answer -- the way i would answer that is, when you look at what appears to be somebody intentionally leaking classified information, and you're asking where the blame should be placed, i think it is pretty clear. i mean it is -- to realize that somebody has intentionally gone out once again -- you start to go back over the last couple months. how many times there's been an unauthorized disclosure of national security. i've said it from this podium before, but it is extremely troubling. i think that when you ask how we feel about it, when you are committed to doing -- whether it is economic policy, or foreign policy, that is in the best interest of the country, and people are going out intentionally leaking classified information that threatens national security. as i said, it's dangerous. april. >> sean, could you tell us how the president gets his intelligence briefings? because we understand that each president has them differently, they ask for them differently. how does this president receive his intelligence breeiefings? >> that's an interesting question. i don't sit in on the briefings. each day a team comes over and -- i should probably follow up on it before i get too far ahead. but they come in person and present him with information and it's classified. >> okay. but does he read any parts of it or is he given the information -- >> i don't sit in on it. so i don't -- i don't know. >> follow up on that, couple questions. the question -- well, the statement from mcmaster begs the question as to a statement about not having parts of the intelligence that the president talked about to russia begs a couple of questions. why was that not included? some are asking in the intelligence community. does this go to the fact that the president may not be trusted with this information? and, also, it goes into, again, how does he get his information and why it was left out. >> i know you stepped out for a while. we actually went over this. >> i'm sorry, i was called away. >> i know. but we went over this. i hope you feel better. basically the answer that i gave -- it was either blake or trey -- was that generally speaking the president's presented with the end result of the intelligence. here are the threats, here are the issues that are facing us. generally speaking they don't go into the sources and methods. >> but is there -- has there ever been a concern that this president was not able to handle the intelligence information and then kind of crafted it to a piece where he would not get in trouble if it were to slip out? >> no. >> george. >> i'm not -- >> everyone gets a your honor it. >> a couple people had more . i want to ask something about secret service. i understand that dave garrett is being eyed as the head of uniform division of secret service. and david garrett during the clinton administration was reprimanded for saying the "n" word to a female pass holder here at the white house. what do you say to that? >> i -- you have to believe me that i don't get into the different divisions of employment at the secret service. i think that -- >> that is under the administration's purview. >> sure, as is all the federal government. i think specifically as a division of the secret service, kathy at the secret service is probably -- and public affairs office is probably your best bet. george. >> a trick question. >> thank you. >> there's a lot of reporting in israel the president was going to go to massada. is that something that's been scrubbed? if he is going, what's the message you're trying to send? >> if i can, it is our goal to have an off-the-record briefing tomorrow probably some time laterhe lo logistics of the trip. we can walk you through that. but obviously a lot of things aren't finalized for security reasons. i don't want to get anything beyond general mcmaster said today. our goal is to have notice out to you guys at some point what the details of the trip are. >> sean, it may seem like a small matter, but the president mispronounced president erdogan's name a couple of times. we had a report yesterday from politico that the president reading and embracing a report that was pushed in front of him from a fake 1970s "time" magazine story. we've had numerous reports of the way the president consumes information, including, not exclusive to, the events of the last few days. two questions, is the president doing his homework, and are you satisfied or can you tell the american people that the president is getting the best quality information possible to make decisions? >> yes, on both. >> senator cornyn pulled out of the fbi search. does the president still think it is possible to name a new director before he goes on the trip? or is that likely the drag? >> i think it is obviously likely but that's up to both doj and then obviously to the president in terms of who he could get -- doj is still interviewing candidates. if we have an update on the proce process. >> i literally don't have an update. part of it is doj will notify us when they believe they have candidates the president wants to meet with or the president will ask them who they have but we are not at that point in the process. >> can you explain -- you're saying that the leaks -- that there is a problem obviously that there's leaks. other people say that the president said something inappropriate. regardless of what happened. how can you assure allies that have expressed concern about leaks in the united states that their information is safe with the united states? how can you assure them? are people calling them? i don't mean the particular ally. i just mean in general. >> i think we take -- i mean, look. there's no one who is more outraged about this than the president and he has been very clear in his statements over the last couple months that this kind of behavior cannot be tolerated and that this action undermines or national security. i don't know -- he's taking -- again, it will be inappropriate for me to discuss anything beyond that. >> are calls being made? >> again, i'm not going to get into anything. >> three quick questions. one, president reagan -- they'll be quick, i promise. -- said of the former soviet union that they reserve unto themselves the right to commit any crime, lie or cheat, to attain global revolution. that was their long-term goal. >> what's the beginning part? >> that president reagan said that the soviet union reserves unto itself the right to commit any crime, lie or cheat to obtain its long-term goals. so what do you think? what does this president think the long-term goals of russia are? that's the first question. the second is, do you think a public official has a right at any time to lie to the american public under any circumstance? and third, i guess going back to our question earlier, but to be more pointed, what do you say to the critics who say this administration, in one word, in the last few weeks has been insent? >> inept? >> as far as russia goes, the question is what do we think their goals are? >> what do you think their long-term goals are? >> we'll have to get back to you. i'm not prepared to go over what russia's strategic goals are at this time. >> the second one was do you think under any circumstance it is all right for a public official to lie to the american public? >> um, the reason i'm going to -- i'm hedging on this is that i'm just thinking mentally going through every position of the united states government. in theory if you were an operative of some sort, or if there was -- i mean there are cases in which -- >> public officials. >> i understand. yeah, if it is a public official, then no. >> and the third one. as far as the last week, the actions from this str administration -- >> like i said, when you have people that are leak being information, the president's going to do everything he can, i can tell you that. >> but that's not unique. >> i think that the level of number of quotes and the damage, i can't say i'm an expert on this but i would say it is pretty -- seems like a lot to me. john. >> a number of republican lawmakers this morning say they were troubled by what they read in the "washington post," the story that came out late yesterday afternoon. senator lindsey graham in an interview that he did today said the only thing i can say when it comes to russia, they are an unreliable partner. does the administration share that point of view that russia is an unreliable partner? >> i think first and foremost, you saw by the comments of the three individuals, they were troubled by the report in the "washington post." so that's the first thing i would say. the second thing is -- because again, look. when you go back and realize that three people who were in a very small meeting come out, the secretary of state, the national security advisor and deputy national security advisor, and dispute the account, and yet on the other hand you have a budge of no -- bunch of anonymous sources using leaked information that's disputed from what was actually briefed and not briefed, you realize that that -- you have to question the intention of why that was done. that is something that we're equally concerned with in terms of the report itself. that a leak that came out does this kind of damage. clearly, you've got to wonder why it was done and who did it. >> but to lindsey graham's point that he was making, that comment that i just read to you, does the president share his belief that russia is an unreliable partner? >> i think -- all i'll say is that on areas like combating isis, in particular we have a shared interest. in syria, there are areas where we can have a shared interest. i think in areas where, whatever country it is, we can find a shared interest to further, whether it is our interest or national economic interest, that is something we would have to consider. but to rule out any country on its face is something that is sort of well above -- it's something that only the president can decide. >> sean, why did the president's counterterrorism advisor feel the need to reach out to the cia and nsa? >> i'm going to get into call that any staff member may or may not make. but i will say that to suggest that someone who is the homeland security advisor wouldn't be making calls would somewhat be a little odd that in the routine part of their job that they wouldn't be calling around to different agencies. that being said, in terms of what i think you're intending to ask with respect to the article, again, i would go back to the fact that there were three prominent individuals in the meeting that dispute the account. >> is the white house doing anything to reach out to members of congress to explain what happened in the meeting with the russian officials? senator burr on the intelligence committee said just before you came out that he's still waiting to hear from someone at the white house. >> i do believe that there are some folks that -- people have asked that have walk them through, shared the statements, et cetera, et cetera. >> are there any plans for the president to reach out himself to any members to explain or reassure -- >> i don't -- not that i'm aware of. >> so you've referenced a few times these statements from mcmaster, tillerson, and powell. one thing none of them addressed is sort of the key point of the articles, which is that the president divulged classified information. none of their statements addressed that. so can you clarify for us whether or not the president divulged classified information, number one. and number two, if so, who gave the okay on that? was that pre-approved by state or by any of the agencies? >> number one, there is in the formal course of conversations with different countries, whether it's threats or information, information is routinely shared. secondly, as was mentioned, if the president wanted to share information, that's within his decision. that all being said, i'm not going to discuss -- go down a road parsing what would be and what wouldn't be. >> you won't clarify whether or not the information he shared was classified. >> i think as you pointed out, the three statements that were made -- they are very clear of what was not addressed. again, getting into starting to have a discussion about what is or what isn't classified is a very dangerous road. >> two questions. first, in this meeting with the russians at the white house, why was the president's first inclination to want to share sensitive information rather than impress on them their meddling in the u.s. election which according to officials this week is something russia certainly did. >> i think that conversation is still private. to assume what was and wasn't discussed would not be accurate. i'm not going to get into the contents of that. but i also think that again, we're missing what was shared and the purpose. there was a discussion about a shared aviation threat. as general mcmaster pointed out, they had an airplane that was taken down in some way in october of 2015, which over 200 lives were lost. they shared and discussed a shared threat that our two countries have and a concern that we have. i think that is extremely appropriate. >> secondly, one of the knocks against this administration has basically been that you guys do things in a sloppy manner and that makes things like this worse. yes, we routinely share information but we routinely share information that is sensitive with our allies. we don't routinely share sensitive information with the russians. so i guess did you guys take the proper procedures to let intelligence agencies know ahead of time that you wanted to share this information -- the president did, with russian officials or did he just make the call on the spot and is that the reason these calls were made afterward to the cia and the nsa, and was in a learning experience in any way for this administration about following protocols to ensure you guys don't get the kind of headlines next time that you did this time? >> well, number one, to make any assumptions about what was shared, what wasn't shared and what processes were or were not followed would be highly speculative. number two, as i've said repeatedly, the information that was shared was of a common threat and one that we both have a desire -- have a shared goal in eradicating. so to suggest that -- which i think is the nut of the question -- we -- why wouldn't we want to share a common threat and the efforts that both countries are taking to eradicate a threat that we both feel? >> there is no indication that you guys -- >> hold on, with all due respect, you have no understanding of that. for you -- i'm not -- but to sit back and say, because it hasn't been leaked out, i mean that's the nature of the leak. somebody's selectively leaking information and facts. there's a reason it's selective. is because they're trying to create -- again, for me to guess why. but at least it appears as though somebody's trying to create a narrative or a problem. but to further suggest that somehow because you get one piece of a puzzle that you know what the entire puzzle looks like, even to suggest that that piece is accurate, which in this case you've heard our position on that. but to -- this is clearly a pattern of people releasing sensitive information to further what appears to be someone's agenda. i think that -- again, the president's raised this. several people in the administration have raised this. but theyed th idea that there i seemingly no concern over something like this being put out in the open i think is, frankly, concerning. and it should be to every american that we have information of a classified nature that's being sent out into the open -- brian, brian, brian. no, that's not how it works. jessica. >> sean, if i could follow up. about the fight against isil in this context. that's what the president talked about was the source of the information -- or i should say framework of the conversation he had with the russians last week. so is the president actively looking for new partners in the fight against isil? and is it his intent to look to partners that have previously been unconsidered because they were not part of traditional alliances or partnerships with the united states? >> i think it's safe to say that the president is going to look to anybody who wants to share our goal of eradicating radical islamic terrorism, isil, and other threats from around the globe. thank you, guys, very much.