Report: Trump Regularly Communicated With Giuliani Via Unsecured Phone Lines
It is possible that Russian and other foreign intelligence services were able to learn about President Donald Trump’s activities regarding Ukraine well before the scheme was exposed by a whistleblower, current and former U.S. officials told The Washington Post, because Trump and others involved used cell phones vulnerable to monitoring.
The Post reported that phone records released with the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment inquiry report “revealed extensive communications between [Rudy] Giuliani, unidentified people at the White House and others involved in the campaign to pressure Ukraine, with no indication that those calls were encrypted or otherwise shielded from foreign surveillance.”
Though the president is not named in the phone records, investigators suspect Trump might be listed as “-1” in the call logs — an individual with a blocked phone number.
Officials have indicated that Trump routinely speaks with Giuliani, his personal attorney, on unsecured lines, with one former senior aide telling The Post: “It happened all the time.”
If Moscow was able to glean information on Trump and Giuliani’s campaign to extract investigations into the president’s domestic political adversaries, that material could allow Russia to “adapt or amplify its propaganda promoting the baseless claim that Ukraine, rather than Russia, hacked the Democratic National Committee in the 2016 U.S. election,” The Post noted.
John Sipher, former deputy chief of Russia operations at the CIA, told the newspaper that Trump and his attorney have “given the Russians ammunition they can use in an overt fashion, a covert fashion or in the twisting of information.”
He added that Russia likely tracked Giuliani’s phone calls, along with others, and it is probable that the Kremlin knows more about the calls’ content than impeachment investigators: “Congress and investigators have call records that suggest certain things but have no means whatsoever of getting the actual text. I guarantee the Russians have the actual information.”
Trump reportedly insists on using a less-secured cell phone rather than hardened White House landlines because he is “totally paranoid that everyone knew who he was talking to,” a former senior administration official told The Post.