Donald Trump has cut the cord, so to speak, on his secure White House landline in favor of using his cell phone more often these days. Why? To escape the clutches of his own chief of staff, John Kelly. CNN writes:
“He uses it a lot more often more recently,” a senior White House official said of the President’s cell phone.
Sources cited Trump’s stepped-up cell phone use as an example of chief of staff John Kelly’s waning influence over who gets access to the President. During the early days of Kelly’s tenure, multiple sources said, Trump made many of his calls from the White House switchboard — a tactic that allowed the chief of staff to receive a printed list of who Trump had phoned. Kelly has less insight into who Trump calls on his personal cell phone.
While Trump never entirely gave up his personal cell phone once Kelly came aboard, one source close to the White House speculated that the President is ramping up the use of his personal device recently in part because “he doesn’t want Kelly to know who he’s talking to.”
Trump’s rogue behavior applies to meetings too. Kelly is reportedly being frozen out of a lot these days, leaving the door open to new additions like Larry Kudlow and John Bolton along with hangers on like one-time campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.
Naturally, Trump hasn’t really gamed this one out in terms of the impact on anyone but himself.
A security expert said the President’s increased cell phone use makes his calls more vulnerable to eavesdropping from foreign governments. […]
Another implication of Trump’s private cell phone use, Cunningham noted, is the possibility that Trump’s conversations may not be “captured for the purposes of government accountability and history.”
Who needs a secret back-channel when you can just pick up your cell?