Skip to main content

President Trump is looking for the source of leaks. Perhaps he should look in the mirror.

The Intercept reported on November 13 Trump Directed Diplomat to Ask Ukraine to Probe Biden in Overheard Cellphone Call

IN A JAW-DROPPING operational security lapse, President Donald Trump discussed his demand for Ukraine to open investigations of Joe Biden and other Democrats in a cellphone conversation with an American diplomat who was in a restaurant in Ukraine at the time, the House impeachment inquiry was told on Wednesday.

During that call with Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Trump spoke so loudly about “the investigations” that someone in the restaurant who was not on the phone could hear his words, according to Bill Taylor, the senior American diplomat in Ukraine.

It is highly likely that others were listening too. Russia’s intelligence services have previously demonstrated the capability to intercept the phone calls of American diplomats in Ukraine and make recordings that can be used to compromise or embarrass those officials.

Inconvenience to Give Up Phone

This article is over a year old, but I do not believe Trump has changed his phone procedures. There are many more similar articles.

Please consider Donald Trump Shuns iPhone Security Because it's 'Inconvenient'.

Donald Trump is reportedly shunning security advice by using at least two iPhones, refusing to allow some of them to be screened for hacking attempts because it is “too inconvenient”.

The US president, who has not used email while in office, has one iPhone capable only of making calls and another that is used as his Twitter phone, with access to a series of news sites and the social network, according to White House officials talking to Politico.

While his call-capable iPhone is issued by White House staff and is swapped out “through routine support operations” to check for hacking and other security concerns, Trump has resisted attempts to do similar for as long as five months with his Twitter phone, saying it was “too inconvenient”.

Need to Babysit

Flash forward to October 1, 2019.

Business Insider reported White House staff reportedly needed to 'babysit' Trump's phone calls with world leaders because he was often unprepared.

President Donald Trump was so frequently unprepared for conversations with world leaders that White House staff needed to sit in on his conversations to make sure Trump didn't say anything inappropriate, CNN reported.

A source familiar with how calls to foreign leaders were handled under former White House chief of staff John Kelly told CNN that several staff members would coach the president during his phone calls to avoid any diplomatic gaffes.

"Kelly always wanted a bunch of us to be there in the Oval (Office) ... to just babysit on these calls," the source said.

Scroll to Continue


The White House began to limit the number of people allowed to listen in on Trump's phone calls after transcripts of his calls with the leaders of Mexico and Australia were leaked, according to The New York Times. According to CNN, the current policy typically allows four officials to listen in on calls with foreign leaders, including "the national security adviser, the National Security Council director and deputy director for that region."

A source told CNN that before Kelly left the White House in December, he would often hit "mute" on the call so people in the room could guide Trump, as he was known to sometimes go off "on random tangents" with foreign leaders.

"We were there to coach him in real-time because he was so impervious to coaching ahead of time," the source told CNN.

An unnamed intelligence official lodged a complaint in August regarding a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, saying that they were deeply troubled by a phone call Trump had with a foreign leader, particularly "a promise" Trump made.

When Trump Phones Friends, the Chinese and the Russians Listen and Learn

Also in the year-old category, please consider When Trump Phones Friends, the Chinese and the Russians Listen and Learn.

Mr. Trump’s aides have repeatedly warned him that his cellphone calls are not secure, and they have told him that Russian spies are routinely eavesdropping on the calls, as well. But aides say the voluble president, who has been pressured into using his secure White House landline more often these days, has still refused to give up his iPhones. White House officials say they can only hope he refrains from discussing classified information when he is on them.

Mr. Trump’s use of his iPhones was detailed by several current and former officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity so they could discuss classified intelligence and sensitive security arrangements. The officials said they were doing so not to undermine Mr. Trump, but out of frustration with what they considered the president’s casual approach to electronic security.

American spy agencies, the officials said, had learned that China and Russia were eavesdropping on the president’s cellphone calls from human sources inside foreign governments and intercepting communications between foreign officials.

Trump Disagrees

That Tweet was sent from his unsecure iPhone.

Bring the Button Back

The button Tweet from a month ago has little to do with security, but it helps to show Trump's phone addiction. He is unhappy with Apple for removing the iPhone home button.

By the way, that change was implemented over two years ago.

Add it All Up

Add it all up and here are the questions and comments of the day:

  1. Imagine what the NSA (and foreign governments) have on him.
  2. I’m sure the military is not telling him things, especially over the phone.
  3. Did you ever wonder how the whistle blower and the press simultaneously learned of the Ukraine matter the day before the Ukrainian president was going to talk to them?

Mike "Mish" Shedlock