A suspicious pattern is emerging for how the White House handles its most controversial plans

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The White House quickly denied an explosive AP report published on Friday morning that said the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was seeking to mobilize 100,000 National Guard troops to round up and deport undocumented immigrants across the country.

"It is false," White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said, according to a pool report. "It is irresponsible to be saying this. There is no effort at all to round up, to utilize the National Guard to round up illegal immigrants."

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Scenes from President Trump's 2/16 press conference
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Scenes from President Trump's 2/16 press conference
US President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference on February 16, 2017, at the White House in Washington, DC. / AFP / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference on February 16, 2017, at the White House in Washington, DC. / AFP / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
CNN reporter Jim Acosta (Rear) listens to a question from Fox News Channel reporter John Roberts during a news conference by U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Vice Preisdent Mike Pence (L) and other White House staff and advisors including counselor Kellyanne Conway (R) listen during a news conference by U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
U.S. President Donald Trump takes questions during a news conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
U.S. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (C) laughs along with Senior Advisor Jared Kushner (L) during a news conference by U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Reporters shout questions during a news conference by U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
U.S. President Donald Trump holds a news conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump answers questions during a news conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Omarosa (C), White House director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison, takes a selfie prior to a news conference by U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Vice President Mike Pence (L-R), Senior Advisor Jared Kushner, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Special Assistant Boris Epshteyn (R) all laugh at a response from U.S. President Donald Trump during a news conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
CNN reporter Jim Acosta asks a question during a news conference by U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
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"I wish you guys had asked before you tweeted," Spicer added.

An AP reporter, however, replied that the wire service asked the White House for comment multiple times before publishing the report.

The incident reflects an emerging pattern noted by several top political reporters in how the Trump administration handles its most controversial policy proposals:

1. Wait for a draft memo of a proposal to be leaked to the press.
2. Refuse to comment when asked about the draft.
3. Wait until story is published to deny that the report is accurate.
4. Allege that the press never sought comment to begin with.

Following the AP's report and the White House's denial on Friday, NBC News politics reporter Benjy Sarlin questioned on Twitter why the administration and DHS waited to deny the report until after it was published, despite reportedly being given the opportunity to comment.

New York Times political correspondent Maggie Haberman replied that it "almost seems like a pattern."

"These are taxpayer-funded spokespeople," Haberman wrote, referring to the White House and DHS press offices. " If memo is not under serious consideration, why not say it ahead of time?"

"Taxpayer press office that has hours to devote to focusing on palace intrigue stories and profiles does not respond to routine questions," Haberman said.

Keith Ellison's press secretary, Isaiah Breen, also noted the pattern on Friday.

"1. Get request for comment on a story. 2. Refuse to reply to request for comment. 3. Deny once article is up, and don't mention comment request," Breen tweeted in response to Spicer's statements.

"Not answering the AP but then responding to the AP report by saying it's wrong seems like a good way to perpetuate a fake news narrative," New York Magazine's White House correspondent, Olivia Nuzzi, tweeted on Friday.

"The very fast, coordinated denial of this story is almost as if they wanted it to hit the wire before shooting it down," said Politico's Chief White House correspondent Shane Goldmacher.

The White House has not responded to the AP's assertion that it did not respond to requests for comment, and official comments published after the initial AP report have done little to clear up the confusion.

A DHS spokesperson told Business Insider that the AP report was "incorrect," and that the Department was "not considering mobilizing the National Guard for immigration enforcement." But another DHS official told Cox Media producer Dorey Scheimer that the immigration memo was "a very early, pre decisional draft... and was never seriously considered by the Department."

A memo published in full by the AP titled "Implementing the President's Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements Policies" appears to have been written by DHS Secretary John Kelly and dated to January 25. But it does not mention the AP's estimate that 100,000 National Guard troops would be deployed.

'Not a White House document'

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President Trump's inner circle and family when they were younger
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President Trump's inner circle and family when they were younger

Trump spent decades in the business world before getting into politics. However, he did run for president on the Reform Party ticket in 1999. He left the race early because of infighting not "conducive to victory."

Source: The Daily Beast

(Photo via Reuters)

Along with managing various real estate properties with the Trump Organization, Trump has also played host on NBC's "The Apprentice," opened a modeling agency in his name, and purchased the Miss Universe and Miss USA competitions (which he has since sold).

Source: Business Insider

(Photo via REUTERS/Fred Prouser/File Photo)

Donald Trump Jr. is President Trump's oldest son. Born in 1977, he attended boarding school in Pennsylvania and later earned his degree in finance and real estate from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

(Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)

He's worked for his father since 2001, managing his property portfolio as executive vice president of development and acquisitions at the Trump Organization.

(Photo via REUTERS/Russell Cheyne)

Today, Donald Trump Jr. serves as a trustee for his father's revocable trust, which contains both physical and intellectual properties owned by the president.

(Photo by Saul Loeb - Pool/Getty Images)

Ivanka Trump was born in 1981. Besides running her own line of jewelry, clothing, shoes, and accessories, Ivanka Trump has also worked within the Trump empire.

(Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)

She joined her father's company in 2005 and was put in charge of the family's hotel business.

(Photo by Ben Rose/WireImage)

In January, Ivanka resigned from her executive vice president position within the Trump Organization to move with her husband, Jared Kushner, and their three children to Washington, DC. Kushner is currently a senior adviser to President Trump.

(Photo credit NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Eric Trump is Donald Trump's third and youngest child with first wife Ivana. Eric has also worked within his father's real estate empire, overseeing the company's golf assets as well as Trump Winery in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Source: TimeVanity Fair

(Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)

Today he, along with his brother and another longtime Trump employee, oversees business at the Trump Organization.

(Photo credit SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Unlike her half siblings, Tiffany Trump didn't grow up playing in her father's office. Tiffany was raised by her mother, Marla Maples, outside of Los Angeles.

(Photo by Davidoff Studios/Getty Images)

There, she attended Calabasas' Viewpoint School. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2016.

(Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Tiffany Trump reportedly plans to attend law school.

Source: Politico

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Melania Trump is a former model who married Donald in 2005. She was born and raised in Slovenia and is the only first lady to have been born outside the US other than Louisa Catherine Johnson, the wife of John Quincy Adams.

(Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)

Melania has said that she will use her position as first lady to combat cyberbullying, adding that "our culture is too mean.” She and her son, Barron Trump, will continue to live in Trump Tower in New York during her husband's presidency.

Source: Business Insider

(Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)

Melania and Donald Trump's only child is 10-year-old Barron.

(Photo via REUTERS/Chris Pizzello)

Melania says that Barron plays baseball and tennis, but he has a proclivity for his dad's favorite sport: golf. His parents have kept him out of the public eye as much as possible.

Source: Business Insider

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

In 2011 Reince Priebus left the law firm Michael Best & Friedrich to become the chairman of the Republican National Committee. Before he left to join President Trump's administration, he had been the longest-serving chairman of the RNC.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Today, Priebus serves as President Trump's chief of staff, acting as a close advisor.

(Photo by Michael Reynolds - Pool/Getty Images)

Kellyanne Conway has worked as a pollster for years and was formerly president and CEO of The Polling Company. She worked with Newt Gingrich in the 1990s and helped him run for president in 2012.

She signed on to the Trump campaign as their third campaign manager. She is currently serving as a counselor to the president.

Source: The New Yorker

(Photo by Chris Goodney/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Steve Bannon — who has worked at Goldman Sachs and as a film producer — most recently ran conservative news site Breitbart News before joining Trump's campaign.

Source: Business Insider

(Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images)

Bannon is currently Trump's chief strategist. He had a hand in writing Trump's inaugural address, as well as the now-suspended executive order that banned refugees from seven majority-Muslim countries.

(Photo by Ron Sachs/Pool via Bloomberg/Getty Images)

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The general confusion stemming from leaked memos and subsequent denials from the administration is not new.

Draft memos outlining changes to the country's "religious freedom" laws that would allow businesses to discriminate against the LGBT community were shot down by the administration shortly after they were leaked, as were memos detailing the possible reinstatement of overseas CIA "black sites."

On both occasions, Sean Spicer said the memos were "not White House documents" and had not yet crossed the president's desk.

On Friday, Spicer contended that the leaked immigration memo published by the AP was "not a White House document," according to the pool report, but admitted he didn't know if the draft memo had ever been considered by the DHS.

"I don't know what could potentially be out there, but I know that there is no effort to do what is potentially suggested," he said.

The leak of the LGBT memo, meanwhile, allowed Trump's daughter, Ivanka, and her husband Jared Kushner — Trump's senior adviser — to take credit for "sinking" a plan the administration said "would never have reached the president's desk for his signature" in the first place.

Similarly, Spicer denied that a draft memo leaked last month proposing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility remain open and the CIA's secret overseas prisons be reinstated was a White House document.

Responding to the bipartisan backlash over the draft, however, the White House then circulated a revised document among National Security Council staff members that removed language about the black sites being reopened , according to the New York Times.

Washington Post reporters Radley Balko and Louisa Loveluck said on Friday that the leaks themselves appeared to be part of a strategy.

"Leak an abhorrent policy under consideration. Refuse comment when queried. After publication, declare policy absurd, scold media. Repeat," Balko tweeted.

"1: Float outrageous draft plan. 2: Watch media explode. 3: Deny, pursue less bad option. 4: Tell base the discredited media did it again," Loveluck said.

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