China and Russia listen in on Trump’s personal phone calls: NYT

U.S. spy agencies have determined that Russia and China are eavesdropping on President Trump’s personal phone calls in order to gain information that they can use to influence American policy, according to a New York Times report.  

Although Trump’s aides have repeatedly warned him that his three personal iPhones are not secure, the president refuses to give them up, the Times reported. He continues to use them to chat with friends and confidants. 

{mosads}China has reportedly been keeping track of the people whom Trump speaks to the most, compiling them into a list of figures to target with pro-Chinese messaging. While Russia’s efforts are reportedly less coordinated, they are listening in to conversations in order to seek insight into the Trump’s thinking.

Two of those people who Beijing has identified as frequent Trump contacts are Stephen Schwartzman and Steve Wynn, businessmen and friends whom Trump speaks with regularly, the Times reported. Chinese businessmen have reportedly been deployed to feed strategic messages to both men in the hopes that they will then report pro-Chinese arguments to the president. 

A spokeswoman for Schwartzman, who is a chief executive with asset management company Blackstone Group, said he “has been happy to serve as an intermediary on certain critical matters between the two countries at the request of both heads of state.”

A lawyer for Wynn, a former casino magnate, said he had no comment.

None of Trump’s three iPhones is completely secure. Two of them have been made more secure by the National Security Agency, but the third iPhone is no different than any other personal cellphone, the Times reported.

Trump aides told the Times that they hope he does not share confidential information during those phone calls with friends, due to Chinese and Russian spies likely listening in.

The president has reportedly refused to swap out his official phones every 30 days, as is typical, citing the inconvenience it causes, the Times reported.

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