By Susan Cornwell and Susan Heavey
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump came under pressure on Tuesday from U.S. lawmakers, including his fellow Republicans, to explain why he shared highly sensitive intelligence information with senior Russian officials at a meeting in the Oval Office last week.
U.S. officials said Trump discussed intelligence about Islamic State with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak at last Wednesday’s meeting.
The officials said the information had been supplied by a U.S. ally in the fight against the militant group. The New York Times identified the ally as Israel but two U.S. national security sources said they doubted the report.
The disclosure rocked the administration as it struggled to move past the backlash over Trump’s abrupt firing on May 9 of FBI Director James Comey, whose agency was investigating potential ties between Russia and Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
The Senate Intelligence Committee has asked the White House for more information about reports that Trump gave intelligence information to the Russians, a spokeswoman for the panel said.
Congressional investigators are expected to seek copies of any notes taken during the meeting, a congressional source said.
While not unprecedented, it is a rare privilege for a foreign minister to be granted bilateral talks in the Oval Office with a U.S. president.
Moscow’s top diplomat, Lavrov represents Russian foreign policies that are often sharply at odds with U.S. aims in Syria and Europe.
Trump said on Twitter on Tuesday he had an “absolute right” to share facts with Russia so that it can be more active in fighting Islamic State militants.
A U.S. president has the authority to disclose even the most highly classified information at will, but U.S. and allied officials said that by giving information to Russia, Trump had endangered cooperation from an ally that has intelligence on Islamic State.
U.S. Representative Barbara Comstock, a…