The Trump administration has banned phones and “personal devices” from the West Wing in the wake of the brewing scandal stemming from the new book by President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders cited “security” concerns as the primary reason for the new ban, which is slated to go into effect over the next week.
While writing Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, writer Michael Wolff is reported to have had unlimited access to the Oval Office in an arrangement the New York Daily News reports Wolff said was “blessed” by Trump.
“The security and integrity of the technology systems at the White House is a top priority for the Trump administration and therefore starting next week the use of all personal devices for both guests and staff will no longer be allowed in the West Wing,” the White House said in a statement. “Staff will be able to conduct business on their government-issued devices and continue working hard on behalf of the American people.”
Starting from Trump on down, White House officials angrily reacted to the “trashy tabloid fiction” of reports from Wolff’s book, which included an endless stream of quotes from Bannon blasting everything from a meeting led by Donald Trump Jr. with Russians as “treasonous” and branding Jared Kushner’s business dealings “greasy.”
Trump minced few words in ridiculing Bannon as having “lost his mind” since being shown the White House door back in August. The president also sought to downplay Bannon’s role in his orbit.
“Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my presidency. Steve was a staffer who worked for me after I had already won the nomination by defeating seventeen candidates, often described as the most talented field ever assembled in the Republican party. Now that he is on his own, Steve is learning that winning isn’t as easy as I make it look.”
Within hours of the book excerpts leading virtually every evening newscast, lawyers for Trump fired off a cease and desist letter to Bannon demanding he refrain from making disparaging comments against Trump and his family.
“On behalf of our clients, legal notice was issued today to Stephen K. Bannon, that his actions of communicating with author Michael Wolff regarding an upcoming book give rise to numerous legal claims including defamation by libel and slander, and breach of his written confidentiality and non-disparagement agreement with our clients,” attorney Charles J. Harder of the firm Harder Mirell & Abrams LLP said in a statement. “Legal action is imminent.”