The Administration

Trump admits White House staff is source of damaging leaks


While President Trump seems to suggest that a conspiracy of deep-state opponents exists throughout the national security establishment, an astounding tweet revealed who he really believes is the source of leaks that continue to plague him.
On May 28, Trump tweeted, “It is my opinion that many of the leaks coming out of the White House are fabricated lies made up by the #FakeNews media.”

{mosads}Trump did not tweet leaks coming out of the FBI. He did not tweet leaks coming out of the CIA. He did not tweet leaks coming out of the Department of Defense, or from the American military. He specifically mentioned the White House. Perhaps Trump should begin an internal investigation of his White House staff to determine who is responsible for leaks he correctly condemns so harshly.


I have always opposed any leaks of classified information from any source. What’s more, I have no doubt that leaks come from various agencies within the executive branch. Leaks also come from Congress. I never doubted the Republican congressional committees that persecuted Hillary Clinton — which Trump applauded — were a fountain of leaks.

I have no doubt whatsoever that a good number of the leaks plaguing the Trump presidency are “coming out of the White House,” as Trump charged in his tweet. Some of the leaks come from White House staff members who are battling for power inside the Oval Office with other White House staff members. Or, the leakers do so to undermine Trump policies they sincerely believe — in some cases correctly — are disastrous for the nation.

It is no secret that from the moment Trump was first elected, there has been a virtual civil war among his inside advisors. It is commonly assumed that the internal White House battle involves the “Kushner wing” versus the “Bannon wing.” However, there are also leaks from individuals wise to the ways of Washington, who know that if they leak derogatory information about Trump, they will be portrayed by reporters as “moderating influences”.

Trump will go down in history as “The Great Divider.” He regularly demonizes and mocks political opponents. He has insulted important international allies in phone calls, tweets and, most recently, at a Group of Seven summit. On countless occasions, he has insulted major Republican allies in Congress, from Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

Trump has attacked our intelligence services and the free press as enemies of the people. He said the FBI and congressional committees are pursuing “fake news” investigations regarding his ties to Russia, and he has even criticized Pope Francis

It is also alarming that Trump has a habit of praising despots around the world and criticizing leaders of America’s closest democratic allies.

As the clouds over the White House darken with each new revelation about the “Putingate” scandal, the fear and division within his White House staff will continue to worsen. As I wrote in my column this week, the president’s Russia problem will not be solved by creating a war room and bringing back partisan warriors into his inner council.

The president’s Russia problem will be solved, if it can be solved, by getting to the whole, unfiltered truth. The president’s White House staff problem will only be solved by bringing in a mega-heavyweight to his staff, someone along the lines of former Reagan chief of staff James Baker.

What Trump needs, above all else, is someone with the stature and security to walk into the Oval Office, close the door and tell the president what he needs to hear: If he does not change dramatically, his presidency will go down in the dustbin of history, one way or the other.

Brent Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), then-chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. in international financial law from the London School of Economics.

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill. 

Tags Business Donald Trump presidential campaign Hillary Clinton John McCain leaks Paul Ryan Politics of the United States Presidency of Donald Trump Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections
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