On Tuesday evening, the Washington Post reported that Donald Trump ignored literally every one of his advisers in congratulating Russian President Vladimir Putin on winning what was clearly a farce of an election. Among the details reported was a section of the president’s intelligence briefing consisting of a simple and blunt set of instructions written in all-caps: “DO NOT CONGRATULATE.” Of course, the president’s advisers perhaps should know better than to write important things down in a briefing as it’s been widely reported that he rarely, if ever, reads them.
While following up on this development, New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman and Associated Press reporter Zeke Miller tweeted an identical quote they had both received from a “senior White House official,” who, frankly, sounds like a child impersonating a cop.
“If this story is accurate, that means someone leaked the President’s briefing papers,” the official told the Haberman and Miller. “Leaking such information is a fireable offense and likely illegal.”
The Associated Press and other outlets are now reporting the quote as “an official White House statement.” The quote has yet to be attributed to any particular staffer, which is disappointing because we’d really like to know who in the administration postured like a complete hall monitor.
Of course, the White House snitch could have just been relaying the anger of their boss, who CNN reports is absolutely “fuming” over the briefing leak and is on a rampage to find the person who told Washington Post about his inability to follow simple directions. From CNN:
Trump was fuming Tuesday night, asking his allies and outside advisers who they thought had leaked the information, noting that only a small group of staffers have access to those materials and would have known what guidance was included for the Putin call, the source said.
According to the source, the incident resurfaces his long-held belief there are individuals inside his administration — especially in the national security realm — who are actively working to undermine him.
White House chief of staff John Kelly also is furious that a confidential presidential briefing became public knowledge, a White House official said, and intends to address the matter Wednesday as aides try to figure out who disclosed the warning.
A White House source defended the allegedly jovial nature of the Putin call to Axios.
“This is the way Trump is,” the official said. “If he’s doing business with you or working with you in some way, he’s going to congratulate you.”
Good luck to everyone leaking stuff from the White House, which is everyone.