Every presidential administration leaks. So far, the Trump White House has gushed.
Unauthorized transcripts of phone conversations between President Trump and the leaders of Mexico and Australia went public last week. So did details about the administration’s stage-managing of Trump’s Supreme Court pick. Drafts of executive orders, including one that would grant legal protection to people and businesses that discriminate against same-sex married couples on moral or religious grounds, also slipped out before they were ready for prime time.
The leaks have been a bonanza for news organizations, particularly mainstream outlets such as the New York Times, The Washington Post, NBC and the Associated Press. The pattern of leaks to these organizations suggests the leakers are seeking not just wide distribution of confidential information but are hoping to gain the credibility conveyed by establishment news organizations — the very news outlets that Trump has frequently derided as purveyors of “fake news.”
They also suggest the extent of rivalries and some possible misgivings within Trump’s inner circle about policies and would-be policies. Leaks, after all, are often designed to isolate a rival or to whip up public pressure to derail a decision.
The Post was first to report on Trump’s conversation with Australian Prime MinisterMalcolm Turnbull, in which Trump blasted a refugee resettlement agreement and bragged about his election victory before abruptly ending the call.