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Russia questions follow Trump abroad

JERUSALEM — President Donald Trump solemnly placed a note in the ancient stones of Jerusalem’s Western Wall on Monday, sending a signal of solidarity to an ally he’s pushing to work harder toward peace with the Palestinians. But his historic gesture— and his enthusiastic embrace of Israel’s leader — were shadowed even here by reminders of Trump’s tumult back home

In this second stop on his maiden foreign trip, Trump unexpectedly offered a new defense of his disclosure of classified information to Russian diplomats in a recent Oval Office meeting. Standing alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he argued he never mentioned Israel, the source of the classified intelligence, according to various officials — something he has not been accused of doing.

“I never mentioned the word or the name Israel,” he told reporters. “So you have another story wrong.”

The moment was abrupt interruption of an otherwise warm and smooth welcome for Trump to the Holy Land. After years of butting heads with Trump’s predecessor, Netanyahu celebrated a new American president’s arrival as a moment of hope in the stalled peace talks between Israel and Palestinians. Trump, arriving from Saudi Arabia, declared he saw the possibility of new alignment of Muslim nations and Israel against a shared foe — Iran.

“There is a growing realization among your Arab neighbors that they have common cause with you in the threat posed by Iran,” he said, at a welcome meeting with President Rueven Rivlin.