Feb 5, 2019

Insiders dish about the most alarming Trump leaks

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The Trump White House was genuinely rattled and hacked off about the leak of three months of the president’s private schedule.

Given how rarely this administration reacts to the incessant leaking, we pinged several former and current White House insiders to find out which leaks of sensitive information had troubled Trump officials most.

Here’s their top 10 list, in chronological order:

  • "Sean Spicer is cracking down on leaks coming out of the West Wing, with ... random phone checks of White House staffers." (Feb. 26, 2017)
  • At a meeting with 30 staffers to discuss Trump's upcoming 100-day mark, Mike Dubke, then the communications director, pitches "the need for a 'rebranding' to get Trump back on track" and says: "There is no Trump doctrine," Politico scoops. (April 10, 2017)
  • Then-Politico reporter Tara Palmeri’s publication of the leaked schedule for Trump’s first foreign trip "was a hot one internally," a former White House official recalls. "Cuz it leaked as the team had all the top reporters sequestered in Roosevelt [Room] telling them about it." (May 4, 2017)
  • The WashPost posts transcripts of Trump calls with the leaders of Mexico and Australia. (Aug. 3, 2017)
  • Jonathan Swan reveals internal use of the term "executive time" in describing the president's "shrinking schedule": "Trump is starting his official day much later than he did in the early days of his presidency." (Jan. 7, 2018)
  • Meeting lawmakers in the Oval Office, Trump derides protections for immigrants from "!@#$hole" countries"; suggests the U.S. bring more people from countries such as Norway, per WashPost. (Jan. 12, 2018)
  • A White House staffer mocks Sen. John McCain at an internal meeting: "It doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway." (May 10, 2018)
  • Sarah Sanders tells the communications team: "I am sure this conversation is going to leak." Her prediction came true, per ABC News. (May 12, 2018)
  • "Stunning Oval Office leak: Aides fight in front of Trump — about leaks," per Swan. (May 27, 2018)
  • Axios posts 95 pages of Trump's private schedules. (Feb. 3, 2019)

Go deeper:

Go deeper

The polarized pandemic election

A Trump supporter protests Pennsylvania's stay-at-home order, during a May 15 rally outside the Capitol in Harrisburg. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

President Trump is going all-in on pushing for a rapid, robust return to normal life, creating a visual, visceral contrast with Joe Biden and other Democrats who are more reticent to rip the masks off.

The state of play: Business friends have been urging Trump from the beginning to keep the lockdowns short. He's listening more and more.

Tech's long hot summer of antitrust

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Google, Facebook and other tech giants face a summer of regulatory grilling as long-running investigations into potential anticompetitive practices likely come to a head.

The big picture: Probes into the power of Big Tech launched by federal and state authorities are turning a year old, and observers expect action in the form of formal lawsuits and potentially damning reports — even as the companies have become a lifeline for Americans during the pandemic lockdown.

Palantir CEO hits Silicon Valley "monoculture," may leave California

Palantir is "getting close" to a decision on whether to move the company out of California, CEO Alex Karp said in an interview for "Axios on HBO."

The state of play: "We haven't picked a place yet, but it's going to be closer to the East Coast than the West Coast. ... If I had to guess, I would guess something like Colorado."