Speed Reads

Trump vs. White House

Amid gush of White House leaks, Trump points his finger at 'Obama people'

All presidential administrations leak, but "so far, the Trump White House has gushed," says The Washington Post's Paul Farhi. "The breadth of the leaks has surprised — and, of course, delighted — journalists," he adds, noting that reporters aren't quite sure what's driving the unprecedented look behind the scenes in the White House and the executive orders Trump's team is mulling over.

Some journalists view the leaks as the byproduct of a rivalry-torn White House rife with senior officials trying to sideline the competition, others see it as a form of whistle-blowing to expose damaging policy before it is enacted, some suspect the leaks are policy trial balloons, while others still suggest Trump officials are just taking a cue from their rules-flouting boss. "I tend to think chaos begets chaos begets chaos, and that's what we're seeing here," a reporter familiar with some of the senior players tells Farhi. Trump says he thinks the leaks are coming from career national security staffers, and he's firing them.

Trump blames the leaked transcripts of phone calls with the leaders of Mexico and Australia on "Obama people," he told Fox News' Judith Miller over the weekend, adding that his team is searching "very, very hard" for the leakers and replacing the holdover staff from the previous administration still working in the White House and National Security Council. "It's a disgrace that they leaked because it's very much against our country," Trump said, during a ball at his Mar-a-Lago private club. "It's a very dangerous thing for this country."

Trump characterized the chats with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Mexican President Enrique Peña Niego as "cordial," though the transcripts suggest otherwise. But generally the White House hasn't disputed the veracity of the leaks. Mother Jones' David Corn says he doesn't think the leaking will stop, either. "It's going to be a continuing problem for him and his administration," he told The Washington Post. "But it's going to be good for the public. And it's going to be very good for journalists."