A continuing leak of internal information from within the White House is leading toward a major staff shakeup inside the Trump administration’s communications department, according to new reports.
Fox News cited multiple sources with knowledge of private meetings in which senior staffers have hinted at an upcoming purge targeting those leaking confidential information to the media.
The renewed focus on a persistent problem within this White House comes amid continuing fallout over insensitive comments reportedly made during a meeting last week. Following reports of communications aide Kelly Sadler’s crass characterization of Sen. John McCain’s battle with brain cancer, many demanded a public apology that never came.
Instead, reports indicated the communications department focused its attention on stemming the tide of leaks.
Multiple sources present for a subsequent meeting fulfilled White House press secretary Sarah Sanders’ prediction about her own comments.
“I am sure this conversation is going to leak, too,” she was quoted as telling staffers. “And that’s just disgusting.”
Though inside accounts from recent meetings add to the speculation of a major staff change inside the White House, counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway suggested as much in an interview earlier this week.
She denounced the actions of those responsible for the breaches, even as some within the White House say she and other senior staffers are actually the primary sources of confidential information leaked to the media.
“There are all kinds of leaks,” she said. “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.”
Conway said another concern does not involve the leaks themselves but how White House staffers are motivated to use information provided to the media.
“Something else that’s gone on in this White House but not as badly as it was at the beginning, where it’s not so much leaking as using the media to shiv each other, and that was going on quite a bit at the beginning of this administration and it’s less so now,” she said.
When asked whether she expected staffing changes in response to the fallout over the leak of Sadler’s comments, she confirmed that she did.
“I do, actually,” Conway said. “Yes, I do.”
President Donald Trump weighed in on the controversy this week with a tweet in which he downplayed reports of “so-called leaks” within the White House while reserving particularly harsh judgment for those responsible.
“The so-called leaks coming out of the White House are a massive over exaggeration put out by the Fake News Media in order to make us look as bad as possible,” he wrote. “With that being said, leakers are traitors and cowards, and we will find out who they are!”
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