AP: WH Says Leak Of Trump’s Briefing Paper For Putin Call Is ‘Fireable Offense’

Alex Wong/Getty Images North America

The White House is reportedly going on the offensive over a leak of information from President Donald Trump’s briefing papers during his phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Associated Press reported.

On Wednesday evening, a White House official told the AP that it would be a “fireable offense and likely illegal” for a staffer to leak Trump’s briefing papers to the press. The threat comes after a senior administration official reportedly told the AP that Trump was told not to congratulate Putin on his election victory during a phone call earlier this week. According to the official who spoke with the AP, “DO NOT CONGRATULATE” was written in all capital letters on Trump’s briefing papers.

Two other officials told the AP that the White House was now conducting an internal investigation to determine who might have leaked the information.

Trump received criticism from several Republican lawmakers, including Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), for congratulating Putin on his election when it has been widely reported that the election was rigged in Putin’s favor.

Trump on Wednesday defended his praise of Putin on Twitter by saying former President Barack Obama had done the same thing in 2012.

In private, Trump reportedly has told officials and outside advisers that he thinks the leak was part of a maneuver to undermine him by “the deep state,” AP reported.

The White House told reporters Tuesday that it was important for the U.S. to have a good relationship with Russia and that the U.S. couldn’t control the way other countries held their elections. 

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