The Washington Post has published the full transcripts of two contentious January phone calls between President Donald Trump and the leaders of Australia and Mexico. It’s the latest in a series of embarrassing leaks of private conversations between Trump and foreign leaders. The leak shocked former officials in the National Security Council, the White House body that helps coordinate such phone calls. VOA spoke with several former senior NSC officials to understand how the White House conducts these calls.
Ahead of the phone call, National Security Council staff prepare a briefing, including talking points, for the president.
A regional or country-specific NSC department prepares the briefing.
Other relevant NSC department heads review it.
The National Security Advisor approves the briefing.
Typically, the night before the call, the president studies the briefing and directs any questions to the National Security Advisor.
A senior NSC director then determines which senior White House staff and Cabinet members should be able to access the info.
Those agency heads will distribute it within their organizations as needed.
Inside the White House, only 10-20 people would have access to the transcript. If senior leaders at other agencies are included, the number can climb to as high as 50 or more.