In the White House itself, one top aide tried to take the office slated for another aide, Steve Bannon is looking to hire his own PR guru, and the details of Trump’s calls with foreign leaders, typically closely held, are suddenly out in the open.
The starkest manifestation of the paranoia has played out with Trump’s executive orders, as many key players were left in the dark as the White House forged ahead with sweeping, controversial policies.
While reports have emerged in recent days about various officials blindsided by the orders, interviews with several people involved in the process reveal the extent of the secrecy and chaos. The highly controversial immigration and travel ban signed by Trump last Friday was so tightly held that White House aides, top Cabinet officials, Republican leaders on Capitol Hill and other Trump allies had no idea what was in it even when it was signed — and that was just how top advisers and aides wanted it.
“Someone would have leaked it,” one administration official said.