May 14, 2018

The 16 juiciest White House leaks of 2018

President Trump holds up his finger while speaking

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

As Jonathan Swan wrote on Sunday, this White House leaks like there's no tomorrow.

The big picture: The reasons for leaking include settling personal scores, making sure there's an accurate record of this administration, and allowing the opportunity for public blowback after losing an internal policy debate.

Leaks about Donald Trump

  • Executive time (Axios, Jan. 7): Trump's work schedule is lighter than publicly disclosed and includes three hours of "Executive Time" in the morning, which is used for TV and tweeting in the White House residence.
  • White House NDAs (Washington Post, March 18): Trump had senior White House staff sign non-disclosure agreements.
  • Putin congratulations (Washington Post, March 20): National security advisers explicitly told Trump not to congratulate Vladimir Putin in a phone call following Putin's reelection, but Trump did it anyway.
  • Rob Porter return (New York Times, March 26): Trump tells advisers he hopes Rob Porter, the staff secretary dismissed after domestic violence allegations came to light, would return to work in the White House.
  • Russian expulsions (Washington Post, April 15): Trump was "furious" after learning that the U.S. had expelled a total of Russian diplomats far in excess of other European countries following the nerve agent poisoning in the U.K.

Leaks about the Mueller investigation

  • McGahn and Sessions (New York Times, Jan. 4): Trump ordered White House counsel Don McGahn to prevent Jeff Sessions from recusing himself from the Russia probe.
  • Mulling a Mueller firing (New York Times, Jan. 25): Last June, Trump ordered Robert Mueller to be fired but changed his mind after McGahn threatened to resign instead of carrying out the order.
  • Sessions resignation threat (Washington Post, April 20): Jeff Sessions threatened to resign if Trump fired Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Leaks about vendettas

  • What John Kelly knew (Washington Post, Feb. 8): Chief of Staff John Kelly had known for months about allegations against Rob Porter before Porter was dismissed, upending Kelly's public account.
  • Omarosa's departure (Politico, Feb. 13): Omarosa Manigault was fired for using a car service "strictly forbidden by the federal government." She then "tried to storm the White House residence to appeal to Trump" after she was dismissed.
  • Kushner's clearance (Politico, Feb. 27): Jared Kushner lost his top-secret security clearance.

Leaks of inside-the-room details

  • "Shithole countries" (Washington Post, Jan. 12): Trump referred to immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African nations as coming from"shithole countries".
  • Kelly on immigration (Washington Post, Jan. 18): John Kelly told Democratic lawmakers that Trump's promises during the campaign about strict immigration policies were "uninformed".
  • Trump talks Syria (Associated Press, April 6): Trump said that he wants U.S. troops "out of Syria by the fall" but also wants to avoid using the word "timeline."
  • McCain comments (The Hill, May 10): White House staffer Kelly Sadler reacted to John McCain's call for Gina Haspel to be rejected for CIA director: "It doesn't matter, he's dying anyway."
  • Nielsen resignation threat (New York Times, May 10): DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen "told colleagues she was close to resigning after President Trump berated front of the entire cabinet."
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