A lie detector test (photo via CBC Minnesota)
US President Donald Trump has been obsessed with using polygraphs to find out who leaked information to the press, a White House former officials say.
“He wanted to polygraph every employee in the building to unearth who it was who spoke to the press,” a former official was cited as saying in a report by Politico on Tuesday.
The president “constantly” talks about ordering polygraphs during major leaks, according to another former official. “He talked about it a lot… He’d be angry and ask, ‘Why can’t we stop these things?’”
White House officials are reportedly storing transcripts of the Trump’s phone calls in a system for highly classified intelligence secrets, including his conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensk, in which he tied US aid to Ukraine to an in investigation into Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. Trump has also asked China to investigate to the top Democratic runner for the 2020 presidential vote, in which he is hoping for reelection.
One of the former White House officials indicated that the idea of polygraphs has never been serious.
“It was something that was discussed and people were trying to placate the president and trying to show that they were taking it as personally and just as seriously as he was,” said the former official. “Taking that line of, ‘Oh yeah, we have to polygraph people’ was a way to ingratiate themselves with him, but it wasn’t an idea that ever went anywhere because it was absurd.”
The House of Representatives has set off a spiraling impeachment inquiry in the wake of a whistleblower complaint into the phone call.
Stephanie Grisham, the White House press secretary, said: “I think the president and anyone in his administration have the right to be frustrated and even angry about leaks. Leaking information, which is often times classified, only hurts this country. I have been with the president since July 2015 and can say unequivocally that I have never heard suggesting polygraphs as a way to stop leaks.”
Trump’s approach towards using lie detectors has been stressing the need without issuing a direct instruction.
“The way he does business a lot of times is just keep saying things over and over and over again and hopes that somebody does it, but that gives him deniability if he said, ‘Well I never said specifically to do it,’” a former White House official said.