Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images
Anna Sheffer
April 03, 2018 11:42 am

For the past year, members of the Trump administration have been leaking information to the press anonymously. Newspapers like the New York Times and the Washington Post have cited “unnamed White House officials” in many of their most shocking stories, and the White House has attempted to crack down on the leaks, even going so far as to ban the use of personal cell phones in the West Wing. But a new book published today, April 3rd, suggests that there’s a surprising culprit behind some of the leaks — President Donald Trump himself.

In The Trump White House: Changing the Rules of the Game, Ronald Kessler writes that Trump routinely contacts members of the press to toot his own horn, under the condition that he not be identified as the source.

"Trump phones Maggie Haberman of the New York Times directly, as well as Philip Rucker of the Washington Post, and Jonathan Swan of Axios, feeding them stories attributed to ‘a senior White House official,’ creating the impression the White House leaks even more than it already does,” Kessler claims in the book. “In other cases, the media has picked up reports on what Trump himself has said to his friends."

But Trump isn’t the only anonymous informant that Kessler has revealed. In an April 1st interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Kessler said that the president’s counselor Kellyanne Conway was the “number one leaker” within the administration, providing more intel to the press than anyone else in the White House. Kessler told Tapper that he felt the book was “truthful” and that he believed Trump “will be seen as a great president just like Reagan.”

Trump has previously taken a strong stance against White House leaks, tweeting that they are “illegal” and must be stopped. And on top of this, the president has condemned both the Times and the Post, even ranking them among the biggest purveyors of “fake news” during his “Fake News Awards” in January.

Given the president’s well-documented need for praise, it’s not all that surprising that he would contact journalists to feed them positive information. But Trump’s alleged attempts to leak information are cause for concern, especially since the president habitually lies and attacks media outlets he doesn’t agree with. Now more than ever, it’s important to make sure your news sources are reputable and end the spread of misinformation.

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