Trump tells his leaky staffers they are 'traitors and cowards'

From his perch atop a White House full of leakers on Monday, ...

Posted: May 15, 2018 10:18 AM
Updated: May 15, 2018 10:18 AM

From his perch atop a White House full of leakers on Monday, President Trump tweeted, "leakers are traitors and cowards, and we will find out who they are!"

The tweet was Trump's first time calling anyone a "traitor" since the first week of his presidency, when he assailed Chelsea Manning.

In the past he has also labeled Edward Snowden a traitor. Both Manning and Snowden leaked sensitive government secrets during the Obama administration.

Some of the Trump-era leaks have also involved national security and other sensitive information. But recent headlines have been about more mundane matters: details of conversations from White House meetings.

Last week, anonymous staffers told reporters about a crass remark press aide Kelly Sadler made about Senator John McCain in a West Wing meeting. When press secretary Sarah Sanders berated staffers for leaking about it, her remarks were promptly leaked, too.

Observers say it's a symptom of a troubled White House culture, with various factions and competing agendas.

Related: Trump's latest shot at the press corps: 'Take away credentials?'

On Sunday Axios reporter Jonathan Swan, one of the beneficiaries of the constant leaking, wrote a piece all about why White House officials do it. He quoted a source saying "to be honest, it probably falls into a couple of categories. The first is personal vendettas. And two is to make sure there's an accurate record of what's really going on in the White House."

Because so many White House aides and insiders are willing to be anonymous sources, the public has learned an awful lot about the inner workings of the White House.

Barely a day goes by without a surprising or scandalous leak from the administration, be it about a powerful agency or the West Wing directly. So it's a constant source of tension between the press and the president.

Trump claimed in his Monday afternoon tweet that the embarrassing stories based on leaks are a "massive over exaggeration put out by the Fake News Media in order to make us look as bad as possible."

"With that being said, leakers are traitors and cowards, and we will find out who they are!" he wrote.

Trump has done this before: Suggested that stories based on leaks are untrue, while simultaneously pledging to stem leaks. Thus far, he has little to show for that pledge.

His Justice Department has prosecuted a few cases involving alleged leakers, not nearly as many as some media watchdogs feared, or as many as some Trump allies hoped.

The leaks are "a big threat to the agenda," American Conservative Union chair Matt Schlapp said on CNN's "New Day" Monday morning. Schlapp's wife, Mercedes, is a White House aide.

On "New Day," conservative Trump critic Bill Kristol responded, "I'm glad they're leaking, because you know what? We get a little window into what kinds of people are working in that White House."

Counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway said on Fox News Monday evening that she spoke with Trump about the leak issue multiple times on Monday.

When asked if she expects personnel changes as a result, Conway said, "I do, actually. Yes I do."

"There are all kinds of leaks," Conway added. "Some leaks exist to hurt, I guess, colleagues. Some leaks exist because they disagree with the policies that are being put forth. But none of them are helpful."

She commented that staffers are sometimes "using the media to shiv each other," but said it's not happening as often as it did in the early days of the Trump presidency.

Trump himself is known to sometimes call reporters and talk candidly.

Maggie Haberman of The New York Times tweeted on Monday evening, "Sometimes the person yelling the most about leakers is doing the leaking."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 116617

Reported Deaths: 3283
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7987178
DeSoto713479
Harrison527284
Jackson462285
Rankin398286
Madison383794
Lee360080
Forrest306978
Jones295784
Washington259299
Lafayette251343
Lauderdale2485135
Lamar227138
Oktibbeha202854
Bolivar201977
Neshoba1854111
Lowndes180262
Panola170240
Leflore168787
Sunflower163449
Warren155156
Monroe152173
Pontotoc147920
Marshall145329
Lincoln141157
Pike139256
Copiah138136
Scott125729
Coahoma125437
Grenada122639
Yazoo122634
Simpson121749
Union119225
Tate117739
Leake115242
Holmes114960
Itawamba114825
Pearl River114560
Adams108944
Prentiss106920
Wayne102022
Alcorn101112
George99919
Covington97927
Marion95443
Tippah91323
Newton86927
Chickasaw85726
Hancock85028
Tallahatchie84526
Winston84421
Tishomingo81641
Attala79726
Clarke76151
Clay70021
Jasper69117
Walthall64027
Calhoun62612
Noxubee59917
Smith59616
Montgomery55223
Yalobusha54914
Claiborne53816
Tunica53517
Lawrence52514
Perry49823
Carroll49312
Greene47818
Stone47714
Humphreys44916
Amite42513
Quitman4206
Jefferson Davis41211
Webster37613
Benton3456
Wilkinson33820
Kemper32715
Sharkey28514
Jefferson27710
Franklin2463
Choctaw2086
Issaquena1074
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 159439

Reported Deaths: 2699
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson23443377
Mobile16934315
Tuscaloosa10414140
Montgomery10298197
Madison939496
Shelby743663
Baldwin669469
Lee655065
Calhoun462161
Marshall441150
Etowah431251
Morgan418235
Houston418034
DeKalb346129
Elmore322753
St. Clair299942
Limestone289330
Walker282392
Talladega267435
Cullman250824
Lauderdale231342
Jackson217515
Autauga207431
Franklin206131
Colbert204132
Russell19533
Blount194225
Chilton189332
Dallas187227
Coffee179511
Dale177251
Covington175529
Escambia173030
Clarke135317
Chambers135244
Pike134413
Tallapoosa133087
Marion109729
Barbour10339
Marengo102522
Butler101340
Winston93713
Geneva9167
Lawrence86132
Pickens86018
Bibb84314
Randolph82916
Hale77730
Clay74912
Washington74912
Cherokee74514
Henry7196
Lowndes71428
Bullock64917
Monroe64810
Crenshaw60930
Perry5936
Fayette58413
Cleburne5738
Wilcox57012
Conecuh56113
Macon53720
Lamar5065
Sumter47321
Choctaw39212
Greene34616
Coosa2053
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