WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- After a whistleblower’s allegations caused Trump’s impeachment, the president is now thinking of ending the practice of permitting officials to listen in on his calls with world leaders.
- According to sources, Trump had been disturbed with the possibility that somebody might reveal details of his and the foreign leader’s conversations.
- Trump has repeatedly justified that there was nothing wrong with his phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in July given that several other people including top administration officials have joined the call.
President Donald Trump suggested that the practice of allowing administration officials and aides to listen in on his calls with foreign leaders be discontinued following a whistleblower’s report on his phone call with the Ukrainian President that primarily led to his impeachment.
“That’s what they’ve done over the years when you call a foreign leader, people listen,” he said in a radio interview with Geraldo Rivera that aired Thursday. “I may end the practice entirely.”
The president has persistently maintained that his July 25 phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was legitimate due to the fact that several people including aides were listening to the call.
Sources tell CNN that in recent weeks, Trump has become bothered with the possibility that someone could divulge what he says on a future call with a world leader.
A phone call between a US president and a foreign leader typically involves careful planning by the President’s national security team.
Dozens of officials including Vice President Mike Pence or his national security adviser, National Security Council personnel, top State Department officials are allowed to join the call. The national security adviser or secretary of state is usually in the room with the president while some are in other locations or the Situation Room. Two aides also listen and take notes to prepare a summary or transcript of the call that will later be published as an official record of the call.
Trump is known to call foreign leaders from the White House.
In July 2018, the White House ended the common practice of releasing summaries of Trump’s communications with world leaders, to the public. However, they have since resumed the practice.