U.S. president Donald Trump has accused his predecessor, Barack Obama, of instigating a series of leaks within the administration and the raucous town hall meetings facing Republican lawmakers across the country.
The White House has faced a wave of leaks to the media since inauguration day more than a month ago, as the administration works to fill hundreds of remaining vacancies, leaving temporary Obama administration holdovers in place.
As the Trump administration looks to plug the leaks, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer ordered staffers to submit their cellular devices for examination, to ensure they had not made unauthorized contacts with media outlets.
Multiple sources told CNN Monday night that this heightened surveillance was approved by President Trump, who they say is outraged over the leaks.
Spicer denied that claim, however, saying the president “did not sign off or even know what I did. That is not accurate.”
Speaking with Fox News on Monday, President Trump suggested that his predecessor, President Obama, was responsible for both the recent flood of leaks and disruptions of town hall meetings held by Republican lawmakers.
“I think he is behind it,” said Trump. “I also think it is politics, that’s the way it is.”
“I think that President Obama is behind it because his people are certainly behind it. And some of the leaks possibly come from that group, which are really serious because they are very bad in terms of national security. But I also understand that is politics. In terms of him being behind things, that’s politics. And it will probably continue.”
Among the recent leaks to media outlets are the details of a tense phone call to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and security meetings between White House representatives and Russian army officials.