US presidential press secretary Sean Spicer is stepping up pressure on White House staff to crack down on unauthorized media leaks despised by President Donald Trump, local media said.
Spicer gathered an emergency meeting of West Wing communication staff, who were under suspicion of enabling some earlier leaks, and warned them about repercussions if any further incidents took place, the Politico reported on Sunday, in turn citing White House sources.
The staff also had to hand in their phones for a check before the emergency meeting. Spicer then warned them of more problems to come if anything about the meeting was leaked to the media.
The press secretary went on to remind those present that various encryption apps which delete messages after sending them are in violation of the Presidential Records Act.
The crackdown comes amid a growing rift between Trump and the media. Earlier this month, Trump slammed “fake news” reports that kept citing anonymous White House sources alleging chaos in the administration as well as contacts with Russian intelligence services. On Saturday, Trump announced his intention to skip the upcoming annual White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) dinner, which brings together journalists covering White House events.