President Trump’s decision to keep his staff in the dark regarding his firing of then-FBI director James Comey was motivated by his concern that staffers would leak the news to the press, according to a report in the Associated Press.
While weighing whether or not to fire Comey, Trump kept his staffers out of the loop because he feared “that his own team would leak the decision,” according to the AP. Trump gave the White House communications team just one hour’s notice of Comey’s firing, leading to a poor public defense of the decision.
When Trump did tell his staffers of Comey’s firing, the news leaked to the press before Trump’s letter firing Comey could arrive at the FBI’s Washington, D.C. office.
Shortly after Comey’s firing, The Washington Post quoted an extraordinary thirty anonymous sources “at the White House, the Justice Department, the FBI and on Capitol Hill, as well as Trump confidants and other senior Republicans,” for a story titled, “Inside Trump’s anger and impatience — and his sudden decision to fire Comey.” The leakers portrayed neither the president nor his decision to fire Comey in a positive light.
The Trump White House has consistently struggled to keep a lid on damaging leaks to the press, which have irritated Trump and his allies in the press.
“We never got 1 damaging leak out of Obama White House staff in 8 yrs. Under Trump, they appear hourly. BIG DANGER: Small leaks sink ships!!” conservative news aggregator Matt Drudge tweeted last week.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer at one point resorted to conducting phone checks to try and catch staffers secretly talking to the media — a move that itself was leaked to the press.