Former officials: Sondland's cellphone call to Trump from Kyiv restaurant was stunning breach of security

“The security ramifications are insane — using an open cellphone to communicate with the president of the United States,” said Larry Pfeiffer, a former senior director of the White House Situation Room and a former chief of staff to the CIA director. “In a country that is so wired with Russian intelligence, you can almost take it to the bank that the Russians were listening in on the call.”…

Calling a president from a cellphone violates protocols set up to protect senior administration officials’ communications. “It’s indicative of a lack of concern for operational security,” said a former senior U.S. intelligence official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid being accused of making statements motivated by political bias. Senior officials, he said, “are routinely briefed on the threats to their communications. You could assume that talking on an unencrypted line from a foreign country would be on that list.”

It is also dangerous for a president to take an off-the-books call like that, Pfeiffer said. That is why call logs are kept, he said. Without them, someone could assert that the president said something on a call, and a log “protects the president’s ability to deny something happened,” he said. “Good bureaucratic record-keeping is a protection for someone in the position of the president.”