Trump administration cracks down on staffers, subjects them to phone check with lawyers in room to plug leaks
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer (L) and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus walk down the West Wing Colonnade. Pic/AFP
Washington: Rattled by the unstoppable stream of leaks about Trump administration's private conversations and meetings, the White House chief of staff Reince Preibus has cracked down on staffers, going as far as checking their phones, according to a media report.
Quoting sources, Politico reported that 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 cellphones.
Incidentally, Spicer also warned the group of "more problems" if news of the phone checks and the meeting about leaks was given to the media, the report said.
Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross is expected to be easily confirmed as US Commerce Secretary on Monday, clearing President Donald Trump's top trade official to start work on renegotiating trade relationships with China and Mexico.
Ross' nomination was advanced by the Senate in a 66-31 procedural vote on February 17, signaling solid support from Democrats.
Trump to sign new travel order on Wed.
President 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, 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."
Mumbai Roundup: 9 incidents that took place this week
Photos: Ajay Devgn, Parineeti, Tabu at 'Golmaal Again' trailer launch
Photos: Dipika Pallikal Karthik oozes oomph in bikinis and sarees
Photos: Kareena Kapoor Khan's grand birthday bash
Photos: 'Dangal' girls Sanya Malhotra, Fatima Sana Shaikh's dinner outing