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New York Times: China, Russia listening to Trump's cell phone calls

President Donald Trump continues to make calls via cell phone despite intelligence that China and Russia lis...

Posted: Oct 25, 2018 9:52 AM
Updated: Oct 25, 2018 9:52 AM

President Donald Trump continues to make calls via cell phone despite intelligence that China and Russia listen in, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

The Times report, citing current and former officials, said Chinese spies have listened to Trump's iPhone calls and that the President's aides had told him Russian spies were listening regularly.

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Trump's cell phone use has been noted throughout his tenure, and security experts have raised concerns in the past. CNN noted in April that after John Kelly became chief of staff, Trump made more calls through the White House switchboard, but by the time of the April report, the President had begun to make more calls through his cell.

The New York Times report said the officials raising an alarm about Trump's refusal to stop making unsecured calls were doing so out of frustration.

Those officials told the Times that China was seeking to use its findings on Trump to help the country in its trade dispute with the US and that the Chinese had noted Trump's conversations with Stephen Schwarzman, head of The Blackstone Group, and Steve Wynn, a Las Vegas figure who established major investments in Macau, a gambling hub in China. Wynn stepped down as finance chair for the Republican National Committee last January following allegations of sexual misconduct, which he denied.

China, in turn, has begun using its own businessmen to try to influence people friendly with those Trump talks to, according to the New York Times report, hopes the information will make it to the President.

Trump dismissed the report in a tweet Thursday morning, saying he only uses "government phones, and (has) only one seldom used government cell phone." He did not immediately address the report's key finding, that Chinese and Russian spies were listening to his calls.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the New York Times report was "fake news."

"My reaction to this New York Times report is that certain people in the United States really have been sparing no effort in their pursuit of an Oscar for best screenplay," Hua told reporters Thursday.

Hua added that if the US was concerned about the security of Apple iPhones, they could switch to the Chinese brand Huawei.

An attorney for Wynn told the Times that Wynn was retired and declined to comment, and a spokeswoman for Blackstone said Schwarzman "has been happy to serve as an intermediary on certain critical matters between the two countries at the request of both heads of state."

Schwarzman spokeswoman Christine Anderson told CNN she had no additional comment.

As the report noted, Trump indicated to the Wall Street Journal this week that he had discretion about information transmitted through his phone.

"I actually said don't give it to me on the phone," Trump said of information about the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. "I don't want it on the phone. As good as these phones are supposed to be."

This story has been updated.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3055568

Reported Deaths: 34441
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles103280614122
San Bernardino2561091560
Riverside2504362645
San Diego2168352109
Orange2148082477
Santa Clara943661109
Kern86718565
Fresno82485968
Sacramento806781111
Alameda67952765
Ventura62101436
San Joaquin58290786
Contra Costa52965450
Stanislaus42882758
Tulare41867506
Monterey36126255
San Mateo32596309
San Francisco29321262
Solano25806106
Imperial25317465
Santa Barbara25083236
Merced24452308
Sonoma24068240
Kings19435145
Placer17380180
San Luis Obispo15929136
Madera13443151
Santa Cruz12298113
Marin11693157
Yolo10620131
Shasta9776122
Butte9474123
El Dorado782644
Sutter775478
Napa760140
Lassen519516
San Benito496343
Yuba495127
Tehama397142
Tuolumne338240
Nevada320673
Mendocino311432
Amador301631
Lake261230
Humboldt239324
Glenn193519
Colusa17339
Calaveras161723
Siskiyou144613
Mono11214
Inyo97429
Del Norte8662
Plumas5895
Modoc3853
Mariposa3464
Trinity3024
Sierra820
Alpine730
Unassigned00
Chico
Partly Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 57°
Oroville
Clear
53° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 53°
Chico
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 57°
Red Bluff
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 17°
Feels Like: 55°
Red Bluff
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 55°
Chico
Partly Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 57°
As expected, we had much quieter weather around northern California on Wednesday with plenty of sunshine, much weaker wind, and a wide range of temperatures. Thursday will be similar, but much more active weather is coming.
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