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Sen. Corker's 'downward spiral' rebuke of Trump is an urgent call for less drama

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., speaking with reporters.
Bill Clark | CQ Roll Call | Getty Images
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., speaking with reporters.

Sen. Bob Corker's comment about a White House "in a downward spiral" Monday may represent an urgent call from fellow Republicans to the Trump administration —please, less drama and more clarity.

The comment from the Tennessean, who was an early supporter of Trump during the election and was floated as a potential running mate during the campaign, came after The Washington Post reported on Monday that President Donald Trump divulged highly classified information about the Islamic State during a closed meeting with Russian officials last week.

"Obviously, they're in a downward spiral right now and have got to figure out a way to come to grips with all that's happening," Corker told reporters this week. "You know, the shame of it is there's a really good national security team in place and there are good productive things that are under way through them and through others, but the chaos that is being created by the lack of discipline is creating an environment — it creates a worrisome environment."

Corker's comment stood in contrast with Republicans like Sen. John McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham, who were somewhat more quiet on the matter — though they are both regular Trump critics.

'There needs to be more clarity'

Joe Watkins, a Republican strategist and former George H.W. Bush White House aide, told CNBC that in these instances it is up to the White House to provide more information to calm the waters.

"On this particular matter, there needs to be more clarity" and "less drama," Watkins said. Corker "is not an enemy. Even [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell said there needs to be less drama ... And the reports distract from the administrations' agenda, like tax reform."

Without elaborating, Watkins said the story is going to continue to buzz, and Democrats will use it to their benefit.

John Sipher, a former CIA officer and current director at software firm CrossLead, said the most important check on the president is Congress. Sipher was careful to say that he's not an expert on the comings and goings of the current White House or Congress, but he noted that more experienced Republicans may take issue with Trump disclosing information to adversaries.

"They have held tight for a while without turning on the president," said Sipher, who retired in 2014 after spending nearly 3 decades with the intelligence agency. "As these things build, I don't think it is surprising that some Republicans come out. We're going to see more and more of this going on."

Sipher commented on the Washington Post report, saying the fact the Trump spoke with Russia about classified information is "troubling."

"Even a with a few facts, [Russia] can put together a very good picture with just a few details," he said.

—NBC News contributed to this report.