Trump's White House Doesn't Trust Its Own Staff, Will Exclude Aides From Meetings, Take Their Phones: Report

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President Donald Trump pauses while speaking as Vice President Mike Pence, right, listens during a meeting with Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), not pictured, in the Cabinet Room of the White House May 17, 2018 in Washington, DC. The White House said the two leaders will be discussing the upcoming NATO Summit in July. Getty Images/Andrew Harrer

President Donald Trump's White House has reportedly taken extra precautions in order to stop leaks from within the administration by taking aides' phones and whittling down the number of staff present at regular communications team meetings, according to The New York Times on Thursday.

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The effort follows an embarrassing leak of one communications staffer, Kelly Sadler, reportedly joking that the administration did not need Republican Senator John McCain's vote for new CIA Director Gina Haspel's confirmation because he was "dying anyway."

The report noted that Trump often lamented the poor press coverage his administration has received, that he does not trust aides to do what's in his "best interests" and that Trump has always had a "sense of paranoia" when it came to his employees and their work.

The extra security to prevent leaks could also be coupled with White House personnel changes, counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway said Monday.

Conway, who herself has been accused of being of a leaker, said the leaks have been used by staffers in an attempt to undermine other White House officials.

"It's not so much leaking as using the media to shiv each other, and that was going on quite a bit at the beginning of this administration and it's less so now," Conway told Fox News.

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President Donald Trump pauses while speaking as Vice President Mike Pence, right, listens during a meeting with Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), not pictured, in the Cabinet Room of the White House May 17, 2018 in Washington, DC. The White House said the two leaders will be discussing the upcoming NATO Summit in July. Getty Images/Andrew Harrer

Following the leak of Sadler's comment, for which the White House has yet to issue an apology despite outcries from many Republicans, the daily communications team meeting has seen fewer aides in attendance. But a senior White House official told The Times that the cut-down was not to plug up leaks but instead meant to protect information.

Staffers' personal phones are reportedly placed in "small storage lockers," with scanning equipment deployed to detect devices not issued by the government.

That effort seemed to be far more orderly than former press secretary Sean Spicer's method of cracking down on leaks. In February of last year, Spicer reportedly called roughly a dozen staffers into a meeting and demanded they put their phones on a table to show they were not responsible for leaks in the administration's early days, Politico reported.

Trump's White House Doesn't Trust Its Own Staff, Will Exclude Aides From Meetings, Take Their Phones: Report | U.S.
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