Trump ‘Wanted to Polygraph’ Every White House Employee After Major Leaks
Over the past couple of weeks, US President Donald Trump has repeatedly called for the whistleblower who filed a complaint about his phone call with Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky to be identified. The move was followed by the Democrats initiating an impeachment inquiry against Trump.
Donald Trump “constantly” talks about ordering lie-detector tests of White House staffers after major leaks related to the US President, four former unnamed White House officials were quoted by Politico as saying.
“He talked about it a lot,” one official claimed, adding that after reading and watching reports about his presidency “he’d be angry and ask, ‘Why can’t we stop these things?’”
Another source argued that Trump “wanted to polygraph every employee in the building to unearth who it was who spoke to the press.”
The first source insisted that Trump’s alleged obsession with ordering White House staffers to be polygraphed came amid numerous reports in the first six months of his presidency pertaining to “infighting and his behind-closed-doors raging about various news stories — especially the Mueller investigation and the firing of former FBI Director James Comey.”
Trump sacked Comey on 9 May, 2017, saying that he was unfit for the position. Ostensibly, he was dismissed because of the way he treated the Hillary Clinton email probe during the 2016 campaign, failing recommend that criminal charges be brought against her.
Former US special counsel Robert Mueller concluded his report on the Russian investigation in April. The report confirmed that the probe had found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in the run-up to the 2016 US presidential election. At the same time, Mueller reported about 10 episodes that might constitute obstruction of justice by the US President.
Additionally, the sources singled out “the initial leaks of the [US] President’s phone calls with the leaders of Mexico and Australia”, which “really rattled a lot of folks”.
“A lot of the suspicion regarding that was geared at the NSC [National Security Council] and potential Obama holdovers causing trouble”, the sources added.
According to the report, Trump was especially angry over leaks that disclosed his tough conversations with the leader of Mexico on paying for a border wall and with Australia on abiding by an Obama-administration deal on asylum-seekers. In late September, the White House reportedly restricted distribution of memos detailing President Donald Trump’s calls with foreign leaders.
Touching upon the lie-detector tests, one of the sources said that the issue “was something that was discussed and people were trying to placate the president and trying to show that they were taking it as personally and just as seriously as he was.”
“Taking that line of, ‘Oh yeah, we have to polygraph people’ was a way to ingratiate themselves with him, but it wasn’t an idea that ever went anywhere because it was absurd,” the source added.
White House Press Secretary Rejects Reports About Trump’s Push for Polygraphing WH Staffers
Commenting on the matter, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham has, meanwhile, claimed that Trump and “anyone in his administration have the right to be frustrated and even angry” over the leaks.
“Leaking information, which is often times classified, only hurts this country. I have been with the president since July 2015 and can say unequivocally that I have never heard suggesting polygraphs as a way to stop leaks”, he underscored.
Democrats Consider Hiding Trump-Ukraine Whistleblower’s Identity – Report
The past few weeks have seen President Trump’s constant demands to identify the whistleblower who filed a complaint about his phone call with Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky in July.
The whistleblower’s complaint resulted in impeachment proceedings against Trump who the Democrats claim abused power as he urged Zelensky to investigate the business dealings of former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter with a Ukrainian gas company.
In the latest development, the Washington Post reported that Democratic members of Congress are considering obscuring the identity of whistleblower.
The newspaper quoted unnamed sources as saying that Democrats in the US House of Representatives are weighing whether to allow the whistleblower to testify away from Congress via a video link, concealing the intelligence officer’s appearance and altering their voice.