The New York Times dropped a bombshell a couple of days ago when reporting that President Donald Trump has been compromising national security by using his personal, unsecured iPhone. Furthermore, his communications from that phone have been intercepted by the Chinese and the Russians.
Unsurprisingly, Trump’s response has been to deny and dismiss without any indication of realizing the gravity of the situation or taking any action to investigate and improve the situation. This lack of serious response from the President has prompted House Democrat, Ted Lieu to issue a campaign promise that, pending the Democrats retaking the House, there will be a formal investigation into Trump’s iPhone usage. RealClear has a partial transcript of the MSNBC interview. In the interview, Lieu is questioned as to what plan the Democrats would press forward with if they were to secure the house after mid-term elections.
Certainly we’re going to have Oversight Committee hearings on the president’s use of the cell phone. In addition, we know there have been other lax communications with the president. He’s been using unsecure wifi at his resort, Mar-A-Lago, he has left his cell phone in unsecure places, and again this is something that doesn’t have to do with the president’s cell phone per se. So even his tweet shows he doesn’t understand the problem… the president needs to stop making calls on his cell phones.”
Lieu wanted to emphasize a fact that most other coverage is missing. The problem is not with the iPhone specifically. Any consumer smartphone would be just as vulnerable. It is the network rather than the phone.
The Chinese and Russians have not hacked the president’s phone. It is believed they have compromised the networks. This is something that Lieu has been working on for over three years.
Another matter — which greatly annoyed Democrats — is the fact that Donald Trump ran for president on a platform condemning Hillary Clinton for maintaining a private email server, which was never actually hacked. President Obama made it a point to highlight the hypocrisy of the faux concern about the email server versus their utter lack of concern about the President’s continued and ill-advised used of an unsecured, consumer smartphone.
It is not clear that any of this posturing will have any effect on the midterm elections. House Democrats are hoping to generate a wave of outrage over the matter, then ride that wave to substantial wins in key districts.