White House Press Secretary Checks Staffer's Phones to Combat Leaks

A senior White House official tells Fox News White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer attempted to target leakers during a phone check last week.

The phone check happened last Tuesday, where Mr. Spicer called together a group of about 10 people who had been in a previous meeting from which some information had leaked. 

When staff entered the room, Spicer asked them to lay whatever phones they had with them on the table.  Staff were not asked to retrieve any phones that they had left in other locations (office, car, home, etc).

Spicer told the group that he had heard from reporters that some White House staff had been using apps like Confide and Signal – which erase messages after they have been viewed.  Spicer informed the group that apps like those run afoul of the Federal Records Act, which requires that all written communications to and from the White House be archived. 

Spicer asked to look at the staff’s phones to see if they had those apps installed.  When it came to personal phones, Spicer asked permission to look at them – he did not ‘demand’ to look at them.  I am told that none of the staff refused the request to look at their personal phones.

Spicer also looked for evidence that a couple of specific phone numbers had been called.

When asked whether Spicer has an idea of who leaked the information from the previous meeting, the Senior Administration Official said “we’re not going to talk about that at this point.”

 

Thank you to my Twitter followers!

SR in 60: President Trump makes suggestion on how media should do their jobs

Krauthammer on Congress: ‘It can’t get its act together’

Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer said Wednesday on “Special Report with Bret Baier” that while many Americans are hoping the Republican-led Congress will tackle big ticket items like tax reform and health care this year, legislators in Washington seem incapable of acting on their own. 
 
“Here we have united government, or at least same party controlling everything, with a lot of momentum… And the great irony is that Congress has become so dependent on following the lead of a president, in general, [it is] allowing its powers to be usurped,” he said, adding, “One presidency after another, this is not the product of one party. But it's simply, now that it's in control, [Congress] can't get its act together.”
 
Instead, Krauthammer said lawmakers will continue to look to the White House for guidance.
 
“Unless you get strong presidential leadership, the president, say, next week in his quasi-State of the Union address saying this is what I want on tax reform and leading on it, that would be the decisive event,” he said, concluding, “In the absence of that, it's showing how, sort of, weak Congress has become, and how it's become habituated to looking to the White House for leadership. It's not getting it, it's not going anywhere.”
 

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Krauthammer on Sally Yates: ‘The new star for liberal America’

Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer said Tuesday on “Special Report with Bret Baier” that acting Attorney General Sally Yates’ decision not to defend President Trump’s executive order on immigration was entirely wrong – and wholly motivated by politics.

“She will now have her 15 minutes as the new star for liberal America,” Krauthammer said. “It's just a way to play to the base. Ask anyone who is defending her and saying how principled were Sally Yates' actions. Ask her what was illegal about the executive order. I've heard a lot of constitutional lawyers… who vehemently oppose the Trump policy, but say she was absolutely wrong in what she did. She has no leg to stand on.”

Krauthammer went on to say that the president was justified in his decision to fire Yates, adding that she could have resigned if she believed the executive order was unconstitutional or unlawful; rather, he said, she chose to satisfy the anger of the Democratic electorate.

“[Democrats, including Yates] feel they have to show zeal. They have… no chance of overturning the order, so they have to pretend. It's kabuki,” he concluded.

Krauthammer on Sally Yates: ‘The new star for liberal America’

Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer said Tuesday on “Special Report with Bret Baier” that acting Attorney General Sally Yates’ decision not to defend President Trump’s executive order on immigration was entirely wrong – and wholly motivated by politics.

“She will now have her 15 minutes as the new star for liberal America,” Krauthammer said. “It's just a way to play to the base. Ask anyone who is defending her and saying how principled were Sally Yates' actions. Ask her what was illegal about the executive order. I've heard a lot of constitutional lawyers… who vehemently oppose the Trump policy, but say she was absolutely wrong in what she did. She has no leg to stand on.”

Krauthammer went on to say that the president was justified in his decision to fire Yates, adding that she could have resigned if she believed the executive order was unconstitutional or unlawful; rather, he said, she chose to satisfy the anger of the Democratic electorate.

“[Democrats, including Yates] feel they have to show zeal. They have… no chance of overturning the order, so they have to pretend. It's kabuki,” he concluded.

EXCLUSIVE: Pentagon believes attack on Saudi frigate meant for American warship

By Lucas Tomlinson

The Pentagon believes the suicide attack by Iranian- backed Houthi rebels targeting a Saudi frigate off the coast of Yemen may have been meant for an American warship, two defense officials tell Fox News.

The incident in question occurred in the southern Red Sea Monday. Two Saudi sailors were killed, 3 wounded. At first it was thought to be the result of a missile.

But based on new analysis of a video showing the yesterday's attack American intelligence officials now believe this was in fact a suicide bomber whose small boat rammed the side of the Saudi vessel.

In the audio heard on the video, a voice narrating the attack shouts in Arabic, "Death to America, Death to Israel, Death to the Jews."

U.S. defense analysts now believe those behind the attack either thought the bomber was striking an American warship or this was a “dress rehearsal” similar to the attack on the USS Cole, according to one official.

The attack Monday near the Bab al Mandab Strait connecting the Red Sea to Gulf of Aden occurred in the same area where US Navy warships came under missile attack in October near  the coast of Yemen.

An American destroyer shot down those incoming missiles-- the first successful engagement in combat using an American SM-2 missile.

USS Nitze, an American destroyer retaliated two days later launching Tomahawk missiles on October 13 at multiple Houthi radar sites in Yemen - that was in October.

This latest incident came a day after President Trump spoke by phone with the Saudi King, to discuss setting up safe zones for refugees in Syria and Yemen. Senior US defense officials who we have spoken to today say they are concerned by this latest incident but are confident American warships can defend themselves against

The United States has supported a Saudi-led air campaign against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen since 2015.

Riley on May press conference: “This was not Twitter Trump. This was President Trump.”

The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Riley told viewers Friday on “Special Report with Bret Baier” that President Donald Trump “was in fine form” at his first press conference as president today.

“This was not Twitter Trump. This was President Trump,” Riley said.

The press conference was a joint appearance with visiting British Prime Minister Theresa May. Riley noted that Trump took a more measured tone than usual.

“He was careful with his words. Very measured even when he got a couple of aggressive questions from some foreign media outlets,” commented Riley, adding, “I think we’ll have to see more of this if he wants a successful presidency but today I think he got the job done.”

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