Trump worried about John Kelly monitoring his calls on the White House switchboard and told people to hang up and call him on his cell: report

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Former President Donald Trump and former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly sit side by side.

Former President Donald Trump and former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

  • Former President Trump started switching calls over to his cell phone while in office, per CNN.

  • He didn’t like that then-Chief of Staff John Kelly monitored the White House switchboard.

  • Trump would “often tell people to hang up and call him back on his cellphone,” according to CNN.

Amid confusion over a 7-hour gap in the White House logs on the day of the January 6 insurrection, a new report from CNN sheds light on how former President Donald Trump would move calls to his cell phone.

Although White House officials are supposed to use secure lines of communication, Trump made a habit of rejecting the in-house phone system in favor of his cell phone, according to CNN.

John Kelly, Trump’s chief of staff from July 2017 to January 2019, monitored the White House switchboard as part of his efforts to streamline communication and limit the number of outside voices trying to influence the former president’s opinion.

One of Kelly’s goals was to get Trump to stop using his cell so much, but according to CNN’s sources, his switchboard sleuthing had the opposite effect.

“Trump hated people knowing who he spoke to, including from the residence at night when they went through the switchboard,” a former Trump official told CNN. So he would tell those who called him on a White House landline to hang up and call him back on his cell phone, according to CNN.

In the context of the missing Jan. 6 phone logs, his use of a cell phone may partially explain why calls corroborated by several witnesses — such as one to former Vice President Mike Pence from the Oval Office that morning — didn’t show up.

Trump only used the switchboard while in the White House residence, but rarely used it while in the Oval Office, according to CNN. He also had staffers place calls for him on various landlines and mobile phones, rather than going through the switchboard.

Clashes over Trump’s cell phone use were a feature of the early stages of his presidency, with a 2018 Politico report describing how he used a phone without any encryption or security features to hide his calls from foreign intelligence agencies.

Read the original article on Business Insider



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