This would be extremely alarming if Trump weren’t already quietly feeding state secrets to the Russians himself.
I kid, I kid. Why would he need to feed them secrets when they have the Oval Office bugged?
I expected a “hackers breach White House phone” story at some point this year. I just didn’t think it would be John Kelly’s phone instead of POTUS’s.
Tech support staff discovered the suspected breach after Kelly turned his phone in to White House tech support this summer complaining that it wasn’t working or updating software properly.
Kelly told the staffers the phone hadn’t been working properly for months, according to the officials…
A White House official, speaking for the administration, said Kelly hadn’t used the personal phone often since joining the administration. This person said Kelly relied on his government-issued phone for most communications…
Kelly has since begun using a different phone, one of the officials said, though he relies on his government phone when he’s inside the White House.
If you’re in charge of the U.S. Homeland Security department and/or chief of staff to the world’s most powerful person and your phone suddenly starts acting buggy, you might want to get it over to the IT people asap. Not something to add to the to-do pile and then forget about it. Maybe take it over to them on your lunch break that day.
I wonder if this news has anything to do with the odd report yesterday of Kelly being left out of Trump’s Vegas trip at the last moment:
Gen. Kelly was originally going to be on AF1 to Vegas with Trump today but was pulled off flight, I'm told.
WH not answering Qs about it.
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) October 4, 2017
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) October 4, 2017
It’s hard to believe Kelly’s job could be in jeopardy, even with a scandal as embarrassing as poor tech security after two years of Republicans dining out on Hillary’s recklessness. Kelly’s old job still hasn’t been filled and there’s a new vacancy at HHS with Tom Price’s departure that may involve a brutal confirmation hearing. The chief of staff doesn’t require Senate approval so Trump theoretically could replace Kelly “easily,” but he’s spent the last two months letting Kelly reorganize the West Wing to his liking. Major players like Steve Bannon have been ushered out of the administration with Kelly’s approval and he’s become a strict gatekeeper on who gets face time with Trump. Booting him now would mean having to organize the White House *again*, for the third time in nine months. It would scream “chaos” and “dysfunction” and it might spook Kelly allies like Mattis and McMaster into eyeing the exits too.
There are only two ways realistically that Kelly’s on his way out. Either his phone was compromised egregiously and he behaved with egregious recklessness in bringing it into secure areas, which doesn’t sound like something Kelly would do. Or he’s on the outs with the Trump family and an “it’s either him or us” dynamic has developed. Firing Bannon is one thing. Firing Jared and Ivanka is an entirely different matter. What if Kelly told Trump that he’s got to get the kids out of the building, as they’re doing him more harm than good, and that he’d be forced to resign if Trump refused? Before you scoff, read this and tell me that Kushner wouldn’t have been gone months ago at Kelly’s insistence if he wasn’t a Trump by marriage.
One other thing. Don’t forget that Kelly allegedly told friends that Trump chewed him out so viciously over something some time ago that he wouldn’t put up with it if he did it again. If Trump blew his top over the phone hacking (or anything else), Kelly may have considered that the final straw and quit. And now it would be a simple matter of how to make his departure as minimally embarrassing and disruptive as possible.
Here’s Bob Corker yesterday warning that Kelly, Mattis, and Tillerson are the only things standing between the administration and “chaos.”
— CSPAN (@cspan) October 4, 2017