White House aide taped meetings with Trump to impress friends: report
One of the White House’s moves to crack down on leaks reportedly came after a junior aide was found to have recorded meetings with President Trump and later played them to impress friends.
The New York Times reported the incident Thursday, citing several people familiar with the episode, amid a look at broader efforts taken by senior officials to prevent future leaks coming out of the White House.
Trump’s White House has faced a series of damaging, and at times embarrassing, leaks in the first 16 months of his presidency. Officials have periodically taken steps to curb such leaks, though it is unclear what specific action was taken in the case of the aide who reportedly taped meetings.
The White House has broadly put in place measures to try to stymie the unauthorized flow of information from the West Wing, with aides expected to leave their personal cellphones in lockers when they go to work. A device that detects nongovernment phones occasionally scans for violations, according to the Times.
The White House has also done away with the large daily meetings that were commonplace in past administrations and has replaced them with smaller gatherings. One White House official told the Times that such large meetings made leaks more likely.
The renewed effort to tamp down on leaks follows scrutiny over a derisive remark about Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) cancer diagnosis that a White House staffer made during an internal meeting last week, a remark first reported by The Hill.
Trump has also broadly blamed his communications team for negative headlines in the media and has claimed that he gets “the worst press,” according to Times, which reported that he believes that leaks have distracted from his accomplishments in the Oval Office, such as tax reform and a recent easing of tensions with North Korea.