A White House aide taped meetings with Trump so that he could replay it to impress his friends

 

  • The White House has struggled to control the number of embarrassing leaks about the Trump administration.
  • Officials reportedly discovered a junior aide was recording meetings with Trump to impress his friends.
  • To limit leaks officials have changed their procedures, including leaving their phones in storage lockers, limiting the number of those attending daily communications meetings, and using a scanning device to look for non-government phones.


The White House has continued its communications crackdown to control the number of embarrassing leaks after a junior aide was reportedly discovered to have taped President Donald Trump's meetings.

The aide was found to have played the recording to impress friends, several people familiar with the situation told The New York Times.

The crackdown followed the embarrassing leak regarding Kelly Sadler, a communications aide, who reportedly made a disparaging comment regarding Sen. John McCain's physical condition last week. The White House and Sadler did not deny the account.

As part of an effort to curb negative media coverage, officials have implemented sweeping changes to procedures, including leaving their phones in storage lockers, limiting the number of attendees at daily communications meetings, and using a scanning device to look for non-government phones, according to The Times.

One senior White House official justified some of the procedural changes by saying it was due to operational security, and not to stem the leaks.

But aides were also wary that news surrounding Trump could have come from the president himself. Trump's campaign aides privately called Trump the "leaker in chief" during the onset of his presidency, and advised others to reassess the information they were going to disclose, according to The Times.

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Inside the White House press briefing room throughout history
Washington, DC., USA. 19th January, 1981 The White House press room the last night of President James Carter's Administration. ABC TV reporter Sam Donaldson and UPI reporter Helen Thomas get into a mock fight over who was going to ask the first question of the president's last news conference. Credit: Mark Reinstein (Photo by Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images)
Reporters in Phone Booths in Press Room, White House, Washington DC, USA, circa 1937. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
Washington, DC. 1-21-1993 First press briefing by George Stephanaopoulos. Newly appointed White House Communications Director for President WIlliam Clinton; George Stephanaopoulos answers reporters questions in the press briefing room on the first day of regular business. Credit: Mark Reinstein (Photo by Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images)
Sam Donaldson (L) returns to the White House briefing room January 12 to cover the Clinton White House, during Press Secretary Mike McCurry's (R) daily press briefing. In an effort to boost their news ratings, ABC News re-assigned Donaldson to his previous beat which he has not covered full time since the Bush administration.
U.S. President Bill Clinton holds a picture of a young and relaxed Joe Lockhart in the White House Brady Briefing Room in Washington, June 22. Clinton received the photo from an old friend of Lockhart's and wrote a humorous inscription on it to present to his press secretary. WP/JP
Socks the Cat, the First Pet of President Bill Clinton and First Wife Hillary Rodham Clinton, with black fur, white face, and amber eyes, standing as if ready to pounce off the edge of the Press Podium in the White House Press Room, beside a microphone and with official White House seal hanging in front of blue curtain in the background, Washington, District of Columbia, December 5, 1993. (Photo via Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images).
Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin speaks to the press in the White House briefing room October 30. Rubin said Brazil had done a good job on pursuing reforms to restore confidence in its economy but still had a series of issues to address. RTW/SV
U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice speaks at the White House briefing room September 19, 2001. Rice spoke to the press to outline the topics that U.S. President George W. Bush will address in his speech before a joint session of Congress and the American people tomorrow evening. REUTERS/Win McNamee WM
Glenn Thrush (L), chief White House political correspondent for the The New York Times, works in the briefing room after being excluded from a gaggle at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 24, 2017. Several major news organizations including CNN, The New York Times and Politico were excluded from an off camera "gaggle" meeting with White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer in his office that was held in place of the regular daily press briefing. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
U.S. President George W. Bush listens to a reporters question during a press conference in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington February 22, 2001. Bush discussed his tax and economic plans in his first news conference since taking office last month. WP/JP
White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart (R) is hugged by U.S. President Bill Clinton (C) with his replacement Jake Siewert (L) during his last press breifing in the White House Brady Press Briefing Room in Washington September 29, 2000. Siewert is holding a military helmet given by Clinton to protect him from the press. WP/RCS
United States Trade Representative, Clayton Yeutter, speaking in the White House press room. (Photo by Diana Walker//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)
US President George HW Bush speaks during a press conference in the White House's Brady Press Briefing Room, Washington DC, August 17, 1990. (Photo by Howard L. Sachs/CNP/Getty Images)
Washington, DC., USA. 19th January, 1981 The White House press room the last night of President James Carter's Administration. ABC TV reporter Sam Donaldson and UPI reporter Helen Thomas get into a mock fight over who was going to ask the first question of the president's last news conference. Credit: Mark Reinstein (Photo by Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images)
White House press secy, Michael McCurry (L) facing packed press room in first days after rumors of Clinton sex scandal emerged w. reports of his alleged affair w. Monica Lewinsky. (Photo by Diana Walker//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, : Members of the White House press corps gather in the Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, DC 17 August awaiting Press Secretary Mike McCurry's daily press briefing. US President Bill Clinton is scheduled to appear before the grand jury later 17 to testify about his relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky. AFP PHOTO Luke FRAZZA (Photo credit should read LUKE FRAZZA/AFP/Getty Images)
White House Press Room just before a briefing. From left -Terry Hunt (Associated Press) Brit Hume (FOX) and Helen Thomas (UPI). (Photo by Erik Freeland/Corbis via Getty Images)
390407 02: U.S. President George W. Bush walks into the briefing room before speaking about the execution of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh June 11, 2001 at the White House in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, : US President George W. Bush answers questions during his his first press conference in the Brady Briefing room 22 February 2001 at the White House in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/TIM SLOAN (Photo credit should read TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, : Members of the media gather around a television set in the press briefing room of the White House 20 November 2000 in Washington, DC, to listen to US Vice President and Democratic prtesidential candidate Al Gore as he addresses an audience in Tennessee via satellite. Gore spoke via satellite the Ninth Annual Family Re-Union Conference, 'Families and Seniors-Across the Generations', at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. (FILM) AFP PHOTO/Manny CENETA (Photo credit should read MANNY CENETA/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES: US President George W. Bush takes questions from the media in the East Room of the White House late 11 October 2001 in Washington, DC. Bush held his first prime-time press conference to talk about the US response to the 11 September 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Mike THEILER (Photo credit should read MIKE THEILER/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, : National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice (L back) briefs the press on the time-line of when US President Gerorge W. Bush was told last summer that terrorists organizations around the world may employ traditional commercial airplane hijackings as a means to release members of their cause 16 May, 2002, in the White House Briefing Room in Washington, DC. The White House disclosed last night that Bush had received information in August about the danger of hijackings by terrorists working for al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. AFP PHOTO/TIM SLOAN (Photo credit should read TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)
White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer (L) invites the press to eat cake at a farewell party in the White House Press Room in Washington, DC, 14 July 2003, on his last day serving US President George W. Bush as spokesman. Fleischer served the president for two and a half years and will be replaced by longtime Bush administration member Scott McClellan. AFP PHOTO/Paul J. RICHARDS (Photo credit should read PAUL J.RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Fran Townsend briefs reporters inside the White House Press Briefing Room in Washington June 29, 2005. Townsend defined the administration's response to the WMD Commission's recommendations. REUTERS/Larry Downing LSD/KS
Newly named White House press secretary Tony Snow smiles after being introduced by U.S. President George W. Bush in the briefing room in Washington April 26, 2006. Snow, a Fox News Radio host, replaced Scott McClellan who announced his resignation last week as part of a staff shake-up engineered by new White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten aimed at reviving Bush's presidency. REUTERS/Jim Young
U.S. President George W. Bush (R) greets reporters during a surprise visit to the last-ever briefing from the podium of the press briefing room of the White House in Washington, August 2, 2006. The famous press room will be demolished soon for major renovations. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES)
White House Press Secretary Tony Snow answers questions from the podium of the press briefing room of the White House in Washington August 1, 2006. The famous press room will be demolished soon for major renovations. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES)
Veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas (R) talks with colleagues as she takes her customary front-row seat in the press briefing room of the White House in Washington August 1, 2006. The famous press room will be demolished soon for major renovations. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES)
U.S. National Security Advisor General Jim Jones speaks to reporters in the briefing room at the White House in Washington May 6, 2009. At left is White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES POLITICS)
U.S. President Barack Obama laughs during a news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington June 23, 2009. REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES POLITICS)
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs (L) reacts as veteran CBS White House Correspondent Bill Plante gets up and walks out of the room after receiving a phone call during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, May 13, 2009. Several journalists phones rang during the briefing, disrupting Gibbs' briefing. REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES POLITICS)
Former White House Press Secretary James Brady and his wife, Sarah, visits the press room named after him at the White House, June 16, 2009. REUTERS/Larry Downing (UNITED STATES POLITICS)
Husband-and-wife actors Will Arnett (R) and Amy Poehler (C) take pictures with actor Forest Whitaker (L) during a tour of the press briefing room at the White House in Washington, May 10, 2009. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES POLITICS ENTERTAINMENT)
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks in the Brady Press Briefing room at the White House in Washington, May 19, 2009. The United States will give Pakistan more than $100 million in humanitarian assistance to help people displaced by fighting in the Swat Valley, Clinton said on Tuesday. REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES POLITICS IMAGES OF THE DAY)
U.S. President Barack Obama arrives to make a statement in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington October 29, 2010. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)
James Brady (C), former White House Press Secretary under Ronald Reagan, and his wife Sarah Brady (2nd R) visit the briefing room named for him with Press Secretary Jay Carney (R) at the White House in Washington, March 30, 2011. Wednesday marked the 30th anniversary of the assassination attempt on Reagan, during which Brady was seriously injured by a shot to the head. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS MEDIA)
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at a news conference in the White House press briefing room in Washington, March 6, 2012. REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)
White House spokesman Jay Carney points to a payroll tax cut extension count down monitor in the briefing room of the White House in Washington December 19, 2011. House Speaker John Boehner effectively killed a short-term tax break and called on lawmakers to negotiate a full year payroll tax cut extension for 160 million U.S. workers. REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)
U.S. President Barack Obama answers questions in the White House Press Briefing Room ahead of a meeting with his national security council in Washington, August 28, 2014. REUTERS/Larry Downing (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY CIVIL UNREST)
U.S. President Barack Obama (R) delivers remarks in reaction to the shooting deaths of nine people at an African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, from the podium in the press briefing room of the White House in Washington June 18, 2015. Vice President Joe Biden listens at left. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest appears in the briefing room with Star Wars Stormtroopers and Robot R2-D2 (L) after Obama finished his end of the year news conference at the White House in Washington, December 18, 2015. The Star Wars characters were at the White House for a private screening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens' which was shown to first lady Michelle Obama and Gold Star Families. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
A White House staff member makes a list of questions asked of U.S. President Barack Obama during a news conference in the White House press briefing room in Washington, U.S., November 14, 2016. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to journalists as he participates in his last news conference of the year at the Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., December 16, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Press Secretary Sean Spicer delivers a statement while television screen show a picture of U.S. President Donald Trump's inauguration at the press briefing room of the White House in Washington U.S., January 21, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
White House spokesman Sean Spicer (R) gives Fox News personality Sean Hannity (L) a tour of the press briefing room during an interview at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 24, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price (R) discusses the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act known as "Obamacare" as White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer (L) looks on while the repeal and replace paperwork produced by House Republicans sits next to the larger original Affordable Care Act on a table in the press room at the White House in Washington, U.S. March 7, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
A member of the media does a live shot while White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah enters the briefing room to hold the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 8, 2018. REUTERS/ Leah Millis
Wishbone, a twenty-eight pounds turkey is presented to members of the press before U.S. President Donald Trump participates in annual National Thanksgiving Turkey pardoning ceremony, in the Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, U.S. November 21, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Journalists work in the briefing room at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 24, 2017. Several major news organizations including CNN, The New York Times and Politico were excluded from an off camera "gaggle" meeting with White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer in his office that was held in place of the regular daily press briefing. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
U.S. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders holds the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, DC, U.S. April 6, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders takes questions during a daily briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S. March 9, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders takes questions during a daily briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 7, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
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After fallout from Sadler's comments, a private meeting between the communications team where White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders lambasted aides over the story was also leaked .

"I am sure this conversation is going to leak, too," a visibly upset Sanders said, according to an Axios report. "And that's just disgusting."

Senior White House officials, including national security adviser John Bolton, have launched a full-court press against the leaks, and have declared it a "national security risk."

"I'm determined to cut them down," Bolton said to Fox News Radio on Wednesday. "The president has to have advisers around him who can have open candid discussions."

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