Speed Reads

Trump White House

Sean Spicer is reportedly spot-checking his staff's phones for evidence of leaks

As the rest of President Trump's White House seems to be settling into a rhythm, the communications office is overworked, under constant scrutiny from the cable-news-fanatic-in-chief, and now being hounded by Press Secretary Sean Spicer and White House lawyers trying to stop the flood of leaks that Spicer now believes is coming from his staff, White House sources tell Politico. Things came to a head last week when Spicer called an "emergency meeting," and after staffers arrived, they were told to deposit all their phones on a table to prove they had nothing to hide, Politico reports:

Spicer, who consulted with White House counsel Don McGahn before calling the meeting, was accompanied by White House lawyers in the room, according to multiple sources. There, he explicitly warned staffers that using texting apps like Confide — an encrypted and screenshot-protected messaging app that automatically deletes texts after they are sent — and Signal, another encrypted messaging system, was a violation of the Presidential Records Act, according to multiple sources in the room. ... Spicer also warned the group of more problems if news of the phone checks and the meeting about leaks was leaked to the media. [Politico]

One leak Spicer was reportedly particularly incensed about was the hiring of Michael Dubke as White House communications director, an addition designed in part to release the workload on Spicer and his staff, who often work 18-hour days. And now the staffers are worried about firings. "In general," said one senior administration official, "there is a lot of insecurity." Spicer declined to comment about the leaks. You can read more at Politico.