CNN: Trump, Kelly furious after leak that Trump was not to congratulate Putin
President Trump and his chief of staff John Kelly are furious that details of the president’s national security briefing materials telling him not to congratulate Russian President Vladimir Putin were leaked to the press, according to a CNN report Wednesday.
Trump was reportedly “fuming” on Tuesday night after The Washington Post reported that Trump’s national security advisers specifically instructed him not to congratulate Putin on his electoral victory. The Post reported that the materials read “DO NOT CONGRATULATE.”
Only a small group of staffers would have access to those briefing materials and would have known what his advisers would suggest before the phone call to Putin on Tuesday morning, CNN reported.
The network, citing an unnamed source, reported that the president was asking allies and outside advisers who they thought was responsible for the leak.
The source told CNN that the incident has again given air to Trump’s long-held belief that members of his administration are actively working against him.
A White House official told the network that Kelly is furious that a confidential presidential briefing was made public just hours after the president’s phone call with Putin.
Kelly reportedly plans to address the leak on Wednesday as aides work to figure out how the information became public.
Other White House staffers are irritated by the most recent leak as well.
“This is unacceptable,” one White House official told CNN.
Social media users were quick to mock Trump on Twitter for appearing to directly ignore his advisers.
Trump faced fierce backlash in Washington for celebrating Putin’s victory, which was ripped by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and others as an “insult to every Russian citizen” who was denied the right to vote in a free and far election.
Putin’s reelection was marred by claims of ballot-box stuffing and multiple reports of poll-watchers being blocked from conducting their official duties.
However, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to say whether the Trump administration believed Putin’s victory was won fairly.
“We’re focused on our elections,” Sanders said during the press briefing on Tuesday. “We don’t get to dictate how other countries operate.”
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