Calls are growing for President Trump to “clean house” at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, after a series of leaks aimed at embarrassing and undermining the president sprung from the White House this week.
A White House source estimates more than 60 percent of employees at the National Security Council are not Trump administration appointees, but career officials who were appointed to the White House from other agencies under the Obama administration.
The source said there are “whole departments” at the NSC with only one Trump appointee.
“I think the lesson here is that these things are going to continue to happen until the Trump White House does a serious housecleaning,” said Fred Fleitz, a former CIA and Bush administration official.
“Now under civil service rules, it’s difficult to fire them and I’m not sure they should be fired, but they can be reassigned. And people who are going to promote the president’s policies rather than undermine them — he needs to put those people in place,” he added.
The White House did not respond immediately to a request for comment on whether it would reassign or appoint new NSC officials anytime soon.
Earlier this week, “current and former” officials leaked to the Washington Post that Trump had discussed “highly classified” information with Russian officials last week.
A day later, an “associate” of former FBI Director James Comey told the New York Times that Comey allegedly wrote a memo saying Trump asked him to end his investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
Then a “current and a former official” — presumably the same ones who talked to the Post — revealed to the New York Times that Israel was the source of the information Trump spoke with Russian officials about.
Fleitz believes it is those career officials assigned to the NSC under Obama who leaked Trump’s conversation with Russian officials to former Obama officials and media outlets.
“I understand there was something called a memcon, a memo of conversation, that was written on it, and I suspect that that document may have reached people in these various agencies who had been put in place, promoted by the Obama administration, they’re Obama loyalists, and they’re just aching for information that they can use to undermine this president,” he said.