National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster speaks to members of the media outside the West Wing of the White House on Monday, May 15, 2017, in Washington. 

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The possibility that President Donald Trump disclosed highly classified information to Russian visitors to the White House has raised concerns among Maine lawmakers.

Both Maine senators — Republican Susan Collins and independent Angus King — called it “very troubling” if the president shared sensitive secrets with the Russians.

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, a 1st District Democrat, called the revelations “shocking, unprecedented and unpresidential — and have the American public and Congress questioning President Trump’s allegiance to our nation.”

But her Republican colleague, the 2nd District’s Bruce Poliquin, took a more cautious approach.

“It is critical to safeguard our nation’s classified information, and any violation of that by an administration is extremely concerning,” he said. “Right now we have insufficient information on what really did, or did not, happen.”

As president, Trump has the authority to declassify any information but experts who have weighed in say such decisions are rare and usually follow a long review of the pros and cons within the administration.

Collins, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee who often hears secrets, said that “the disclosure of highly classified information has the potential to jeopardize sources and to discourage our allies from sharing future information vital to our security.”

She said the intelligence panel, on which King also serves, “should be briefed on this important issue immediately.”

King said that “jeopardizing the sources and methods that support our intelligence gathering apparatus or those of an ally, are of grave concern” and “could result in the loss of important intelligence sources and the cooperation of partners.”

Pingree said that it’s time the country “knew of the full extent” of Trump’s relationship with the Russian government, which intelligence officials have said meddled in last year’s election in a bid to assist Trump to victory.

“And with no one to head the investigation at the FBI and the House Intelligence Committee failing to remain independent, it’s time to turn the probe over to an outside commission,” Pingree said.

“Unless we have an independent commission in place,” she warned, troubling incidents will “continue to occur without explanation until there are major consequences for our national security.”


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