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Trump furious over leak of warning to not congratulate Putin

President Donald Trump was infuriated after it quickly leaked that he had been directly instructed by his national se...

Posted: Mar 21, 2018 3:13 PM
Updated: Mar 21, 2018 3:13 PM

President Donald Trump was infuriated after it quickly leaked that he had been directly instructed by his national security advisers in briefing materials not to congratulate Russian President Vladimir Putin on his recent election victory during their call Tuesday morning, a source familiar with the President's thinking said.

Trump was fuming Tuesday night, asking his allies and outside advisers who they thought had leaked the information, noting that only a small group of staffers have access to those materials and would have known what guidance was included for the Putin call, the source said.

According to the source, the incident resurfaces his long-held belief there are individuals inside his administration -- especially in the national security realm -- who are actively working to undermine him.

White House chief of staff John Kelly also is furious that a confidential presidential briefing became public knowledge, a White House official said, and intends to address the matter Wednesday as aides try to figure out who disclosed the warning.

"If this story is accurate, that means someone leaked the President's briefing papers. Leaking such information is a fireable offense and likely illegal," another senior White House official told CNN Wednesday.

The Washington Post first reported Tuesday that Trump congratulated Putin despite warnings from multiple national security advisers and briefing materials that said "DO NOT CONGRATULATE." The White House declined to officially comment to CNN on the matter, with an official adding that they "cannot comment on alleged classified deliberative documents allegedly provided to the President."

The President often makes calls to foreign leaders while he is still in the residence during what has been dubbed "executive time." National security adviser H.R. McMaster has been known to join Trump in the residence during these calls, and was present during his Tuesday morning call with Putin. According to the public schedule released by the White House Tuesday, the President was not scheduled to be in the West Wing until noon, when he greeted the Saudi crown prince.

The leak, which one source said contributes to the ongoing atmosphere of paranoia in the West Wing, irked White House aides as well. Though the reaction has been described as "rattled," a White House official said it is more like anger and disappointment.

"This is unacceptable," the White House official said, speaking about the leak that some believe was an attempt to embarrass the President and McMaster. Another called it "ridiculous."

One of the White House officials described anger and disappointment in the West Wing over the leak.

It is still unclear if Trump actually read the guidance that was given to him by his advisers. Multiple officials have noted that he often follows his own path during his calls with world leaders. The substance of the call was not seen as a major deal by national security staffers, but the leak certainly was.

Another White House official didn't dispute to CNN Tuesday the language on the notes provided by members of Trump's National Security Council, but said Trump didn't read or see the notecard. The official added that Trump often disregards advice in calls with foreign leaders.

Trump's comments drew significant criticism among US politicians, including by Arizona GOP Sen. John McCain, a noted Russia hawk, who said "an American president does not lead the free world by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections."

The leak comes as McMaster's standing the West Wing remains in question. After Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Twitter last week, speculation intensified that McMaster was next to be ousted. The White House denied last week that McMaster was on his way out.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 304023

Reported Deaths: 3580
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin641421113
Ramsey27059502
Anoka21526225
Dakota21268190
Washington13529113
Stearns13524108
St. Louis8433108
Scott820154
Wright746139
Olmsted653534
Sherburne570941
Clay483956
Carver455913
Blue Earth405214
Rice403136
Kandiyohi396821
Crow Wing353431
Nobles304929
Chisago304410
Otter Tail300522
Benton293348
Winona273730
Mower257423
Douglas250735
Polk248923
Morrison228029
Lyon213411
Beltrami211917
McLeod205011
Becker199815
Goodhue196728
Steele19137
Itasca185523
Isanti184917
Todd178413
Carlton177715
Nicollet158725
Freeborn15125
Mille Lacs149931
Le Sueur144911
Cass138610
Waseca137811
Brown136415
Pine13138
Meeker12398
Roseau11454
Hubbard111924
Martin111220
Wabasha10301
Redwood91619
Chippewa8527
Dodge8380
Cottonwood8333
Watonwan8334
Renville83124
Wadena7736
Sibley7724
Rock7569
Aitkin75529
Pipestone71018
Houston6854
Fillmore6770
Yellow Medicine63311
Pennington6277
Kanabec59613
Murray5783
Swift5758
Faribault5422
Pope5281
Stevens5063
Clearwater5058
Jackson4841
Marshall4758
Lake4066
Koochiching3855
Wilkin3715
Unassigned36759
Lac qui Parle3613
Lincoln3511
Norman3417
Big Stone3072
Mahnomen2904
Grant2726
Kittson2138
Red Lake2053
Traverse1461
Lake of the Woods951
Cook660

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 225897

Reported Deaths: 2345
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk33451334
Linn14206164
Scott1116385
Black Hawk10849134
Woodbury10323124
Johnson948636
Dubuque918291
Story677621
Dallas633657
Pottawattamie624570
Sioux369125
Webster357833
Cerro Gordo351544
Marshall347846
Clinton327540
Buena Vista304114
Des Moines287920
Muscatine286468
Warren279611
Plymouth274242
Wapello255071
Jones229813
Jasper217443
Marion204320
Lee202217
Carroll197322
Bremer194212
Henry18227
Crawford174316
Benton169519
Tama153840
Jackson144313
Delaware143221
Washington140214
Dickinson138210
Boone136311
Mahaska126727
Wright12336
Clay11714
Buchanan116410
Hardin115010
Page11294
Clayton11105
Hamilton11059
Cedar107413
Harrison106729
Calhoun10617
Kossuth10566
Floyd104116
Mills10407
Fayette103310
Lyon10268
Butler10116
Poweshiek98913
Winneshiek96212
Iowa94612
Winnebago91723
Hancock8607
Louisa85816
Sac8578
Grundy85611
Chickasaw8494
Cherokee8374
Cass80823
Allamakee79911
Mitchell7884
Appanoose78710
Humboldt7695
Union7676
Shelby76211
Emmet76024
Guthrie75215
Franklin73521
Jefferson7112
Madison6804
Unassigned6620
Palo Alto6514
Keokuk5967
Pocahontas5574
Howard5529
Greene5220
Osceola5211
Ida48713
Clarke4824
Taylor4643
Montgomery46211
Davis4619
Monroe44312
Adair4408
Monona4332
Fremont3573
Van Buren3555
Worth3550
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Decatur3160
Wayne2987
Audubon2952
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