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Trump undercuts his own administration again, and now the GOP is taking notice

  • The White House's latest botched effort at damage control is finally costing the Trump administration the support of the president's own party.
  • For the second time in a week, President Donald Trump has undercut a senior administration official seeking to quell furor over a controversy emanating from the Oval Office.

For the second time in a week, President Donald Trump has undercut a senior administration official seeking to quell furor over a controversy emanating from the Oval Office, and it may be costing him some support now.

The latest seeming contradiction from Trump followed reports Monday that the president had shared classified information with Russian officials, a report that was categorically denied by national security advisor H.R. McMaster.

"The story that came out tonight as reported is false," he told reporters, without getting specific about what in the report was incorrect. "I was in the room. It didn't happen."

But on Tuesday morning, Trump contradicted the denial on Twitter, saying he shared information with Russia.

"As President, I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety," Trump tweeted. "Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up the fight against ISIS and terrorism."

"There's nobody going out in the Republican Party and repeating McMaster's talking points. I don't see how they get out of this one. This is too clean cut." -Rick Tyler, Republican political strategist

From the beginning of his campaign, Trump has had an uneasy relationship with many members of the Republican Party. On Tuesday, many leaders of GOP had clearly lost patience.

"To compromise a source is something that you just don't do," Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R.-Tenn., told reporters. "That's why we keep the information that we get from intelligence sources so close, is to prevent that from happening."

The controversy created yet another major distraction as the White House and Republicans seek to revive a stalled agenda, the Senate's top Republican told Bloomberg on Tuesday.

"I think we could do with a little less drama from the White House on a lot of things so that we can focus on our agenda," said Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R.-Ky.

Some GOP leaders sought to distance themselves by saying they were "looking for answers" about exactly what intelligence Trump provided to Russian officials.

"We have no way to know what was said, but protecting our nation's secrets is paramount," said Doug Andres, a spokesperson for House Speaker Paul Ryan, R.-Wis. "The speaker hopes for a full explanation of the facts from the administration."

"If that's true, I would say it's disturbing," said Sen. John McCain, R.-Ariz., who has been a critic of Trump's relationship with Russia.

The news caught members of Congress on both sides of the aisle by surprise.

"I can tell you as a member of the Intelligence Committee, we had not been told that this had happened by this administration," said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine., a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. "It's very serious, I want to find out what the facts are."

Trump has sought to deflect criticism by saying that more attention should be paid to find who is leaking information to the media. The Washington Post first reported that Trump's closed-door remarks with the Russians jeopardize a valuable intelligence source on the Islamic State.

The lack of support from his own party should come as no surprise, according to Rick Tyler, a Republican political strategist and MSNBC contributor. After watching Trump undercut officials from his own administration, the silence from Capitol Hill represents the fear of getting undercut by the White House, he said Tuesday

"There's nobody going out in the Republican Party and repeating McMaster's talking points," he said. "I don't see how they get out of this one. This is too clean cut. The Republicans I don't think are going to go and try and defend him on this one."

McMaster stands by account

The conflicting statements this week followed last week's about-face by the White House on the firing of FBI Director James Comey.

The White House initially said Trump made the decision based on information from a senior Justice Department official. The president then directly contradicted that, saying in an interview with NBC News that he had made the decision to fire Comey because, among other things, the FBI director was "a showboat."

On Tuesday, McMaster stood by his account, saying Trump's conversation with the Russian officials "was wholly appropriate."

Watch: Israel source of intel Trump gave to Russian FM