Yet another leak, this time most likely from the WH.


 "President Trump engaged in contentious telephone calls with the leaders of Mexico and Australia in his early days in office, pressing them to make concessions to satisfy his own domestic political needs in exchanges so sharp that he said talking to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia was more pleasant.

Transcripts of his calls with President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of Australia confirm previous news reports of tension during the conversations in January, just a week after Mr. Trump’s inauguration, and show a new president eager to fulfill campaign promises while developing relationships with foreign counterparts.

The transcripts, assembled from the notes of aides listening to the calls, were obtained by The Washington Post, which posted them online on Thursday morning."  Peter Baker in the NY Times


 These transcripts were written by people IN the Trump White House.  Such documents would not have been injected into the Intelligence Community information "blood stream."  The president's private correspondence is not given to intelligence agencies.   It is possible that the secretaries of cabinet departments would have been given such transcripts.  The president's privacy is so carefully guarded that such dissemination would have been very limited in spite of the obvious truth that the conversation was unclassified. 

Sooo, who are left as probably sources for the Washington Post reports?  Clearly, attention should be focused on White House staff  members in the NSC area. 

Would it be too much to think that those who have recently been fired might be the culprits?

This is not rocket Science, folks.  pl

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43 Responses to Yet another leak, this time most likely from the WH.

  1. The Beaver says:

    Me thinks that it is Ezra Cohen-Watnick (there were rumours, for the past 3 weeks that he was on the chopping block and that neither Jared nor Bannon would save him this time around)

  2. sid_finster says:

    It seems that Trump’s policy of attempting to curry favor with Team R by appointing Establishment Team R stalwarts and following standard Team R policies is not necessarily working out precisely as planned.
    An understatement, I know, but Trump would be better and more loyally served by a appointing Gila Monsters to key posts.

  3. Greco says:

    Could the Post have been sitting on this?

  4. turcopolier says:

    no way to know. pl

  5. Fellow Traveler says:

    So Spicer, Priebus, Scaramucci, Harvey and Ezra Cohen-Watnick. In the meantime, McMaster lets Susan Rice keep her clearance.
    Pardon, but since so many think Clinton/Obama are behind everything, it must be quite a bit of rocket science to pull that off.

  6. Jack says:

    In your experience of DC intrigue is this attempt to upend President Trump, par for the course that every POTUS in recent decades has experienced or is it unique?
    I don’t recall the MSM blatantly attack a POTUS in such a concerted manner since Nixon.

  7. Fred says:

    Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller just impaneled a grand jury. Could he be issuing subpoenas to those just fired in regards to this (and other) leaks or are we to conclude that he is only chasing Trump and his family?

  8. Emad says:

    Everything gets passed down from the top, from orders and demands to the very spirit of the place.
    When Trump himself acts like a bombastic buffoon captaining a ship of rats; the White House is ineviatbly going to look like a leaking ship of rats.
    Sad, as the man is fond of saying.

  9. Bandolero says:

    I think that is a good question. If so, what may be the motive of WaPo to publish the transcripts now? I could imagine that the WaPo and the Borg don’t like the current composition of forces in the WH and NSC and therefore have an interest to demonstrate that the recent removals of people from the NSC were not successful in stopping leaks.
    So, what do the WaPo and the Borg don’t like in the current composition of the WH and NSC? I think CR and Jordan Schachtel are made from the same cloth as WaPo and he has published quite a stining criticism of McMaster, quote:
    “Official: McMaster calls Israel ‘illegitimate,’ ‘occupying power’
    Embattled NSC chief holds anti-Trump positions on Israel.
    Posted August 03, 2017 05:45 PM by Jordan Schachtel
    It’s not a coincidence that national security adviser H.R. McMaster has chosen to eliminate the pro-Israel voices at the National Security Council, three West Wing and defense officials (who chose to speak on background for diplomatic sensitivity reasons) told Conservative Review.
    In interviews with several current and former members of President Trump’s inner circle, a profile of McMaster has emerged as a man fiercely opposed to strengthening the U.S. alliance with the Jewish state.
    On Wednesday, American-born Israeli journalist Caroline Glick detailed explosive allegations concerning McMaster’s views on Israel. Glick is a well-known pro-Israel columnist and has established connections with the Trump administration. Many of the details in this story emerged from questions asked about Glick’s allegations.
    The list of pro-Israel voices in the administration that were removed from McMaster’s National Security Council now includes: Steve Bannon, K.T. McFarland, Ezra Cohen-Watnick, Derek Harvey, Rich Higgins, Adam Lovinger, and Tera Dahl.
    McMaster not only shuns Israel, he is also historically challenged on Arab-Israeli affairs, according to the sources. …”
    Quote end, source:
    So, McMaster is seen as pushing back against close “Friends of Israel” in the WH and NSC, and that’s not liked by some. If McMaster could now demonstrate that he successfully closed the leak pipeline by doing so, he’d have decisively won that battle with the close “Friends of Israel” in the Trump WH and his NSC.
    And influential Israeli journalist Caroline Glick, who was a big fan of Flynn and Trump until recently, demands the head of McMaster – and threatens or else.

  10. doug says:

    It’s almost certain that WaPo and the Times have lots of leaks queued up. Two principal reasons.
    1. Business. There’s more money to be made by spreading them out. Each leak has a news cycle from hours to perhaps a week depending on how salacious it can be presented. It’s a simple issue of maximizing the revenue from the publisher’s perspective.
    2. Almost everyone in these news organizations hates Trump to the point of seeing him as a blight on America. The drip-drip-drip approach erodes support more effectively than a rash of released leaks.
    So the drip approach will continue. The number of leaks released in a week is an indication of the number of remaining ones in the queue. As that rate is pretty high right now, I expect the current leak inventory is quite large.
    And polls show it is working. Support by the core is slowly eroding. More concerning is that the number of “strongly support” is eroding too.

  11. lucopter says:

    You right.
    Its been disappointing watching Trump surround himself with allies of the Never Trumper crowd since winning the election, while ignoring those who have were loyal to him from the very beginning.
    I am starting to suspect that Trump doesn’t fully understand any of the current powerful political ideologies like Neoconservativism, Globalism, Progressivism, etc. He might have walked into his presidency with a simple view of how politics work and viewed political figures as atomic individuals who are not part of a bigger collective driven by political ideologies. This may have blind sighted him into bringing backstabbers, committed ideologues who will eventually sink his presidency.

  12. Stephanie says:

    Sessions and Christie, the Establishment Team R stalwarts who supported Trump early and strongly, have been shabbily treated by him. Priebus and Spicer were subjected to humiliations large and small. Loyalty is a two-way street.
    Under normal circumstances world leaders would most likely be greatly upset and concerned, not to say angered, by a leak of such conversations. As it is, they are probably relieved that the world now knows beyond any doubt what they are having to cope with in Trump.

  13. Mark Logan says:

    Seems entirely plausible but, respectfully, it may be a mistake to rate suspects by political affiliation. A judgement that Trump is dangerously incompetent for his current position could arise within a very broad spectrum of folks, especially after reading something like those conversations.

  14. sid_finster says:

    I am not Col. Lang, but if I may answer:
    The MSM has been accused of bias for as long as I can remember. However with Trump, they have dropped any pretenses at objectivity.

  15. turcopolier says:

    Here in the US iall those points have been repeatedly reported in broadcast media today. In spite of this the 24/7 TV “news” has been desperately trying to sell the notion that a new grans jury has ben empanelled which is not true. pl

  16. turcopolier says:

    Only Fox defends him and the new people brought in by the Brothers Merdoch do so with knowing smirks and a wink and nod. pl

  17. wisedupearly says:

    Everything is leaking it seems. Now the ubiquitous DJI drones are being stood down from active service. Seems that the Chinese-sourced drones are leaking just about everything possible to Chinese servers.
    Key comment from DJI
    “We are happy to work directly with any organization, including the U.S. Army, that has concerns about our management of cyber issues. ”
    Suggests that the military had no idea of what was involved.

  18. Lemur says:

    The electorate didn’t vote for these establishment hacks, who are a large part of the problem in the first place. Priebus certainly didn’t want Trump as the nominee or president. His posse did their level best to sabotage Trump the whole way.

  19. MRW says:

    If you are going to quote, you have to put an end quote on the selection. Your stuff is unreadable, and make your comments here a PITA. BTW, the proper labeling is QUOTE/END QUOTE. Caps.
    Fercrissake, learn how to write for the web. Honor your readers here, or sit it out.

  20. MRW says:

    Add Shep Smith, who I now find insufferable.

  21. Fredw says:

    Your suggestion of looking to the recently fired does have the merit of including a motive. OPtherwise the mysterious point in my mind is “Why now?” The transcript covers events of six months ago with no discernible importance beyond demonstrating an ineptness that we already knew was there. What’s the point? Resentment? Whoever leaked was there in January or inherited files from someone who was there in January.
    The conspiracy approach doesn’t do much better. If there is a perceived need to keep the campaign going while the president and the senate are both out of town I would expect them to wait a bit. The supply of scandal could be low for a while and the demand high. The grand jury stuff is doing fine for now. And, once again, this is really small potatoes.
    My best alternate theory is that it came from Trump’s own camp for shoring up his support. The MSM moaning and groaning is all about real issues, but ones that don’t have traction with Trump’s base. Talking about his failings at civility let’s him plausibly play the victim and distracts from issues that might get traction but haven’t yet.
    None of these explanations seems very strong.

  22. steve says:

    I am seeing reports like this that say Mueller is using existing grand juries, and they are looking at Flynn and Manafort.

  23. Bandolero says:

    Sure. The leaks may all come from individuals who decided to become criminals because they are engaged in WH infighting or they simply dislike Trump.
    However, it may well be the opposite, ie there is an organized effort to use leaks to harm Trump and bring him down, possibly even organized by a foreign power. And when Netanyahu recently told journalists that Israel “opposes” the cease-fire deal reached by Trump and Putin for southwest Syria, it may have been just that. But since this cease-fire deal was Trump’s signature achievement in his most important foreign policy undertaking so far, the very public rejection of this by Netanyahu looked to me more like a backstabbing effort to harm Trump and sabotage Trump’s presidency than anything else.
    I think regarding the leaks we may know more whether there was coordination behind the leaks when and if the leakers get caught and try to spare themselves punishment by spilling the beans. Jeff Sessions and Dan Coats just today announced, that they will undertake a major effort to get the leakers.
    I think if McMaster did set up good procedures and some hidden traps many of the leakers will likely get caught. And if that happens I’m quite optimistic that not only Trump’s WH gets quite clean, but also that Trump can turn the whole political table in the US around once more.

  24. b says:

    – The transcripts are AFAIK classified (don’t remember where but a classifier was named in one MSM report)
    – Surely such foreign call transcripts get copied to the State Department?
    – The people recently fired from the NSC are Trump allies, the leaks are anti-Trump.
    – The people recently fired see WaPo as an enemy of their ideological strain. They leak to Breitbart or Daily Caller, not WaPo.
    For the above reason I believe that these transcripts were not leaked by the people fired from the NSC but by anti-Trump remnants likely in the NSC or in State.
    I saw several anti-Trump foreign policy people criticizing the leaks on Twitter. It is finally dawning with them that such leaks hurt U.S. foreign policy in general way more than they hurt Trump.

  25. LondonBob says:

    What are your thoughts on McMaster’s purge? I still think he lacks the intellectual flair and background for his position, as well as exhibiting the standard issue military belligerence towards Iran and Russia, but on the surface seems like good moves.
    Still puzzled by the description of Bannon as an Iran hawk, doesn’t fit his America First outlook, would need to see evidence of this.
    Seems Bannon’s pal was visiting the White House yesterday. He maintains this talk of conflict in the administration is nonsense and that Sessions is doing good work behind the scenes. Pleased see Trump taking more of an interest in Afghanistan etc. I still trust his instincts on foreign policy. Always thought change would be a slow process.

  26. confusedponderer says:

    sid finister,
    that media have been accused of bias isn’t new, and it isn’t automatically true also.
    That said, as bad or normal as it is that media can be and some times are biased, many pretenses at objectivity also have got lost on, say, the whitehouse, in a way that justifies and invites mockery and scorn, by, say, the … biased media.
    Reminder: Lack of applause and critism are not signs of treachery. They can also be a sign of the non-applaused and criticised folks screwing up.
    I remember having to work hard on not spitting my coffee in laughter when Trump had just said (and likely tweeted) the important news that he had sent a grand navy ARMADA to North Korea to show them the big stick, so they would be afraid and behave. Yeah, eat that, Kim!
    On that day I read in the news that that said grand navy ARMADA was in fact sailing pretty much in the opposite direction – to Australia and away from North Korea. Oopsie. That was absurd, embarassing and hilarious in its own depressing way. But maybe that’s part of a cunning strategy to get regime change in NoKo by getting Kim to laugh himself to death.
    It was also hard for me to not spit out my coffee in laughter the day when Trump said that during one of his innumerable speches at some unimportant place God had looked down, saw the event and then decided that rain ought not to ruin that spech. So it became a dry, rainless, grandiose, spetacular grand super speech in warm sunshine.
    Oddly, during the speech folks behind the dry-and-not-wet-getting-miracle-speecher were wearing plastic ponchos and his wife was holding an umbrella. Ah well, perhaps it was raining? Well, well … well … for some folks utter rain is a warm sunshine and they do not even feel the wetness. Others then don’t share that incredible benefit of phantasy, and thus they do get wet and they dislike that. Clearly, symptoms of them being traitors and having a negative attitude.
    Point is, while media may be biased – they are after all humans at work – the whitehouse also is the workplace of humans doing work (ideally). Well, humans are some times err, are dumb, distracted or confused. No just in media.

  27. TV says:

    It may not be rocket science, but it’s waaaay above the heads of the FBI (the guys who’ve been investigating Trump-Russia for a year with nothing to show for it, the guys who missed 9/11, Robert Hansson, Hillary’s email and on and on.)
    Stick to bank robberies boys.

  28. eakens says:

    you are right. just look at this article:
    “Kelly told them to return to the meeting when they resolved their differences.”.
    I mean how many people were possibly in this meeting to know such details. There is no other explanation other than extreme levels of incompetence, the WH being bugged, or it’s a farce intended to lead to some sort of controls on the media.

  29. turcopolier says:

    The transcripts may or may not be classified, i.e., “Confidential, Secret or Top Secret.” Those are the legal categories of classification. Various compartmentation categories can be added to one of those to further restrict distribution, but the whole justification for classifying a document is a risk to national security if the information is publicly known. Where was that in these transcripts? The Mexican and Australian government already knew the contents of the conversations and could disclose whenever they chose. The earlier illegal releases of US classified information that IMO compromised US SIGINT capabilities are in an entirely different category as leaks in that they are clear felony violations of US law and seriously injurious to the US state. Would the transcripts be distributed to SECSTATE and SECDEF? They might be but the dissemination of reading rights at these departments would have been very small. IMO the most likely leakers for these transcripts are to be found among present or recently departed NSC or other senior WH staffs. To say that Derek Harvey and/or Cohen-Watrick are Trump allies is an over simplification of their motivations. Harvey is an ego driven fantasist and opportunist. Cohen- Watrick is Zionist in his essence. Who can say what such people might do if threatened in the possibility of living out their dreams? The bastard screwed us! They might say. We will screw him back. The SIGINT leakers are a different kettle of fish. The amount of conspiratorial activity in pulling off that effort speaks IMO to a cabal of Clinto-Obama regime loyalists. pl

  30. Gorgar Tilts says:

    The people are waking up, and Boomer Conservatives are terrified that they will be unmasked for the collaborators they are, and have always been.

  31. Fellow Traveler says:

    The Secret Plan has been completed, Operation Tremendous begins:
    McMaster defended the campaign in Afghanistan, arguing they had seen “tremendous” success in the country.

    “We’re not gonna talk tactics anymore, right?” he added. “Everything before was, you know, troop levels and very specific details announcing to the enemy years in advance exactly the number of troops you’re gonna have, exactly what they’re gonna do and what they’re not gonna do. And so the president has said, that ‘That is not the way to fight a war. It never has been.’ This is an invention of recent years.”
    But this isn’t the war our War President needs. How about Isle de Margarita? Perhaps Aruba by mistake.

  32. different clue says:

    Sessions did not oppose or undermine Trump. Sessions was about the first Senator to support Trump and one of very few. Trump’s deceitful and dishonorable treatment of Sessions indicates that Trump does not want “loyalty”. He wants worshipful servitude. He does not even know what “loyalty” is.
    The Republican Senators know what Loyalty is. They are protecting and will protect Sessions from Trump’s cowardly treachery. They will back Trump down and keep Trump backed down where Sessions is concerned.
    And no, I don’t regret voting for Trump. It had to be done, in order to keep Clinton out of the office.

  33. Mark Logan says:

    Could be, but I see no evidence of organization so far. My Occum’s Razor says individuals who viewed Trump’s comments as evidence of gross incompetence and his self-awareness of his own lies, something for which, in a democratic republic, it can be argued there is a public need to know.
    Certainly political leanings would assist in this perception, but the breathtaking scope of Trump’s dishonesty and incoherence could open that door for just about any sort of critter in the machine, including if not particularly the apolitical ones. Caveat: My razor isn’t the sharpest one around, not by a damn sight. 😉
    Here’s a new puzzle: It was reported this week that Kelly told Sessions his job was secure. Sessions is a nominated and confirmed cabinet official who reports directly to the POTUS, he is not “staff”, and Kelly is certainly aware of that.
    Has Trump told Kelly to do his job for him?

  34. Mark Logan says:

    A PS to my previous comment:
    I forgot to mention the Russia issues I very much view as most likely coming from the political animals, but the revelation of his conversations with Australia and Mexico as potentially being from from a much wider variety of fauna.

  35. optimax says:

    After researching John Borednes’ account of being ordered to launch nuclear missiles, I’ve decided it’s bull shit. It sounds like a man desperate to sell his manuscript. Stars and Stripes agrees.

  36. Stephanie says:

    If Trump thought they were part of the problem, he never should have brought them in or accepted their support. In fact the Republican Congress have been solidly behind Trump and they don’t show any signs of wavering, in spite of some mild expressions of “concern” and putting up a few guardrails like the new Russian sanctions (a bad idea IMO) and the pro forma session. However, you could argue that they are doing those things in order to prevent Trump from doing something worse where they would actually have to take action against him, which would have the potential to cause an irreparable split in the GOP.
    The electorate didn’t actually vote for Trump, either, but let it pass. I quite agree that Priebus and Sessions are hacks. (Christie was a very effective pol once, enough to make the Dems anxious.)

  37. turcopolier says:

    “the Republican Congress have been solidly behind Trump and they don’t show any signs of wavering,” You missed the part in which the Republican senate did not pass the health care bill? pl

  38. turcopolier says:

    Ah! I see. If they won’t impeach him, then they are “solidly behind him.” IMO you are like all those who believe that he is destroying your utopian dream and are willing to destroy the country to stop him. pl

  39. dilbert dogbert says:

    Who leaked the transcripts does not interest me as much as the content of the transcripts. The President as Commandeer In Chief has a lot of control over the armed services and of foreign policy. When speaking to foreign leaders he speaks for the nation. I read the president’s comments to the Mexican president as a personal plea, not a plea for the nation. The president’s comments to the Australian Prime Minister was disturbing because he did not seem to absorb what he was being told. I wonder if this is what McMaster and Kelly are up against.
    Shouldn’t the president’s interactions with foreign leaders be recorded and archived? They should of course be classified and only declassified after some reasonable period.

  40. Stephanie says:

    I would respectfully suggest that the plural “health care bills” would be more appropriate here, since the Republicans voted on or did not vote on multiple versions, some cooked up overnight or in hours. All of these bills in their various iterations were horrible as policy and widely acknowledged to be so even by members of the GOP, and at the very last the Republican senators were voting on something that most of them conceded would be “a disaster” in Lindsey Graham’s words. It almost got through. Rarely has legislative irresponsibility reached such a pass on the national level. But I digress.
    There is a strong case that Trump was Trumpcare’s biggest enemy. He understands nothing of the country’s health care problems apart from his desire for a win and he supported bills that would hurt his own voters and violate his own campaign promises in blatant fashion. His ham-handed threats and interference did more harm than good and exacerbated divisions in a caucus already sharply divided. It’s hard for me to see the Republicans’ inability to pass one of their awful “health care” bills as evidence of their hostility to Trump. I’m actually impressed that McConnell was able to muster the support he did.

  41. Stephanie says:

    I don’t see impeachment on the cards, nor would it necessarily be a good thing if it was.
    There does seem to be blood in the water for 2020, though. GOP presidential wannabees are already trekking to Iowa where normally they would stay home in deference to a sitting Republican president and Mike Pence is clearing his throat and straightening his tie.

  42. Pat Lang says:

    I thought the portrayal of the RM officer in Master and Commander was well done.

  43. Keith Harbaugh says:

    As to who leaked those transcripts,
    Eric Ciaramella would seem a prime suspect:

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