Democrats demand answers over reports involving Donald Trump’s unsecured cellphone

April 25, 2018 GMT

President Trump’s reported use of an unsecured cell phone and the related security risks spurred two Democratic congressmen to seek answers Wednesday from the White House Communications Agency, U.S. Secret Service and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Reps. Ted Lieu of Arizona and Ruben Gallego of Arizona raised their concerns in a letter sent to the agencies in the wake of CNN reporting Tuesday that Mr. Trump has increasingly relied on his personal cellphone recently in lieu of placing calls through the White House switchboard, potentially putting the president’s sensitive communications at risk of being intercepted and exploited.

“As Members of Congress and veterans who understand the importance of secure communications, we are deeply disturbed by reports of President Trump’s continued and increasing use of his personal, unsecured Android phone. We write to request information from each of your offices on the specific steps you have taken to mitigate the unique threats posed by the reckless behavior of the Commander-in-Chief,” the lawmakers wrote.

CNN reported Tuesday that multiple sources said that Mr. Trump has increasingly used his personal cellphone to contact outside advisers, circumventing the White House switchboard and making his calls less obvious to his chief of staff, John Kelly, while also putting his communications and data at risk of being compromised.

“While cybersecurity is a universal concern, the President of the United States stands alone as the single-most valuable intelligence target on the planet,” the Democrats responded Wednesday. “Given the apparent lack of progress the Administration has made since initial reports in 2016 of the President’s poor operational security, it appears the only thing standing between the Office of the President and the next national security nightmare is a combination of President Trump’s personal restraint and sheer luck.”

Indeed, Mr. Lieu and 14 other Democrats requested a congressional hearing more than a year ago after it was reported in Feb. 2018 that Mr. Trump apparently used a consumer-grade Android smartphone to communicate over Twitter while in office.

“This behavior is more than bad operational security it is an egregious affront to national security,” they wrote at the time.

“The American people deserve to know whether steps are being taken to prevent the President’s personal phone from jeopardizing his own safety, the integrity of the Office and critical national security information,” Mr. Lieu and Mr. Gallego wrote in Wednesday’s letter.

The White House did not respond to messages seeking comment on either the CNN report or the congressmen’s response.