Whenever the press reports an even moderately major story that connects dots between Trump and Russia, the general reaction from the White House is to attack. Trump lashes out every time, and his latest outrage arose when someone leaked that the FBI refused to bury Russia stories that made the administration look awful. And now White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has also declared war on leaks to the point where he’s reportedly telling his staff to “dump their phones” on a table for random checks.
All along, Trump’s focus has never landed on the subject matter of negative stories but, instead, whoever is leaking the information to the press. As he said during a recent combative press conference, “The leaks are real, but the news is fake.” No one really knows what this means, but leaks are the newest White House buzz word, and Politico reports that Spicer thinks these phone checks will nip the leaks in the bud:
Last week, after 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, according to sources in the room.
Upon entering Spicer’s second floor office, staffers were told to dump their phones on a table for a “phone check,” to prove they had nothing to hide.
Well, you know that this story will soon be a subject of an SNL skit, which will enrage Trump so much that he’ll be too upset to tweet for awhile, and then we’ll hear more leaks about his disturbed state. So counterproductive!
Yet the dump-your-phones routine plays more like an intimidation method rather than a successful deterrence. These checks might reveal texts (or the like) or recent calls, but there’s no way to sniff out all leaks that way. Spicey’s simply flexing his muscles here, and only time will tell if the crackdown works.