World America 28 Feb 2017 White House cracks d ...

White House cracks down on staff amid new leaks

Published Feb 28, 2017, 1:11 am IST
Updated Feb 28, 2017, 1:12 am IST
Donald Trump
 Donald Trump

 Washington: The phones of White House staffers have been checked under a crackdown after the leakage of information to the press about Trump Administration’s private conversations and meetings, according to a media report.Quoting sources, Politico reported that the incident comes a week after President Donald Trump criticised the media for using unnamed sources in stories and expressed growing frustration with the unauthorised sharing of information by individuals in his administration.

Last week, after US press secretary Sean Spicer became aware that information had leaked out of a planning meeting with about a dozen of his communications staffers, he reconvened the group in his office to express his frustration over the number of private conversations and meetings that were showing up in unflattering news stories, the report quoted sources as saying.Staffers were also asked to dump their phones on a table for a “phone check”, to prove they had nothing to hide.Spicer, who consulted with White House counsel Don McGahn before calling the meeting, was accompanied by White House lawyers in the room, the report said.There, he explicitly warned staffers that using texting apps that automatically deletes texts after they are sent are a violation of the Presidential Records Act, it said.

The phone checks included whatever electronics staffers were carrying when they were summoned to the unexpected follow-up meeting, including government-issued and personal phones.Spicer also warned the group of “more problems” if news of the phone checks and the meeting about leaks was given to the media, it said.It’s not the first time that warnings about leaks have promptly leaked. The state department’s legal office issued a four-page memo warning of the dangers of leaks, and that memo was immediately posted by The Washington Post.

New travel ban order tomorrow
US President Donald Trump is expected to sign a new refugee and immigration executive order on Wednesday, a day after addressing lawmakers at a joint session of Congress.That’s according to a senior administration official.
Trump initially planned to sign the new order last week, but spokesman Sean Spicer said the president was holding off “to make sure that when we execute this, it’s done in a manner that’s flawless.”

The president’s initial order temporarily halting all entries into the US from seven Muslim-majority countries was blocked by a federal judge. Trump has vigorously criticised the decision.The administration official was not authorised to discuss the rollout of the new order publicly and insisted on anonymity. 

Donald Trump's navy secretary nominee withdraws
Philip Bilden, US President Donald Trump’s nominee for navy secretary, withdrew his name from consideration citing privacy concerns and “significant challenges” he faced in separating himself from his business interests.
Bilden’s withdrawal a month after he had been named for the post marks the latest in a series of similar decisions by other nominees who have their names removed from consideration to serve under Trump.

Previous withdrawals include that of Vincent Viola, a billionaire Wall Street trader, nominated as Army secretary, and labour secretary nominee Andrew Puzder. The withdrawals were marked by concerns over the nominees’ business records.Defence secretary Jim Mattis said in a statement that Bilden, a former military intelligence officer, wrote to him to consider his request to withdraw his nomination.



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