Today’s big news in White House leaks are the transcripts of the phone calls made by Donald Trump to other world leaders showing how what Trump says in private is in stark contrast to what he says in public. Much has been made of the conversation with Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto as early as January 27 where Trump acknowledges that the wall is not important and that Mexico will not pay for the border wall but demands that Peña Nieto not keep saying in public that Mexico will not pay for it because it makes him look bad.
You can read the full transcripts here. As would be expected, this has led to calls that the leaker be identified and fired. It is also not clear what impact the leaks will have on foreign leaders who can no longer be confident of confidentiality.
That the leaks reveal that Trump lies is hardly surprising. What is curious to me is that these transcripts got leaked at all. I assume that it is policy that someone listens and records the calls and makes transcripts, at least for the record. This must be by low-level staffers who would not be likely to leak them because they would be obvious suspects and lose their jobs. So who gets them? It is not clear how wide is the circulation of such transcripts. I can imagine that only a few top-level staffers who deal with policy issues that are relevant to those countries, such as the US ambassadors to those countries spoken to, would be in the loop, so that they can clean up the mess.
With most of the leaks so far, one can suspect that the leaks are aimed at damaging a political rival within the administration. But the only one harmed by these leaks is Trump himself which makes the source of the leaks harder to pin down.
In general, there is nothing wrong with these calls being made public. People should know what their leaders are committing to and telling other leaders on matters of national importance.
Given the multiple sackings and resignations that have taken place since the calls were made, I suspect the leaker was someone disgruntled, disgusted, and ditched by Trump.
Marcus Ranum says
“Those responsible for the sacking of the previous sackers, have been sacked.”
President as a Monty Python sketch; he does remind me a bit of Basil Fawlty except not funny and less competent.
Mr Fawlty had excellent command of English and knew his history (humourously), and even employed foreigners. Hair furor only seems to grasp how to pronounce “me Me ME” with no signs of understanding either meaning or appropriateness; and his history is that ranted (homourlessly) by a stoned LSD tripper using a kaleidoscope to watch faux whilst listening to instructions from TPC.
Tabby Lavalamp says
I can see the argument for that, and while far, FAR too much is kept secret at the government level, I can also see calls that should be kept private because occasionally there is legitimate secrecy. At the very least, after a sufficient amount of time has past then publish the transcripts.
I found it shocking how poorly Trump understood the Australian deal; he clearly hadn’t understood any briefing he got before the call, he didn’t listen to what Turnbull was saying during the call, he just obsessed about how bad it was going to make him look even when Turnbull explained how it could be used to Trumps advantage. If he wasn’t president of the USA it would be funny, as it is it’s terrifying in it’s implications about his ability to understand anything and therefore to act remotely in even the USA’s interests, let alone the world’s interests. And yes you may say this has been obvious for some time, but I’ve not seen anything that demonstrated it so very clearly before.
Drumpf has no problem with
employingtaking advantage of foreigners. There was a recent call for special visas for stuff at Mar a Lago and it goes all the way back to stiffing foreign construction workers on projects in NYC.
Um, these are all of elected officials in offical capacity -- shouldn’t they be public?