John Kelly was secretly “listening to all” of President Donald Trump’s conversations without telling him, first son-in-law Jared Kushner reveals in his forthcoming book.
Kushner writes that Trump was unaware that the former Marine Corps general-turned-White House chief of staff was listening to his phone calls until after Kelly’s departure was announced in late 2018.
The revelation so concerned Trump that after Kelly left, he issued an order to prevent any other senior White House staff from eavesdropping on his calls, Kushner writes in “Breaking History,” set for release this month.
Trump’s son-in-law describes his own tense relationship with Kelly, including how Trump’s chief of staff restricted Kushner’s access to classified information and barred him from talks on opening a US Embassy in Jerusalem.
Incoming acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney raised Kelly’s surveillance of Trump’s calls before a Dec. 28, 2018, dinner at Vice President Mike Pence’s official residence, Kushner wrote — before Kelly’s official last day on Jan. 2.
“Before we departed, Mulvaney and I met with the president to discuss his upcoming schedule. Then Mulvaney handed Trump a document to sign,” Kushner recounted.
Mulvaney told Trump, “This will end the practice Kelly started of listening to all of your phone calls.”
Mulvaney “explain[ed] that Kelly had given himself the ability to listen surreptitiously to the president’s calls,” according to the account.
Kushner wrote that Trump was furious to hear that Kelly, with whom he later had a bitter public break, was listening to calls without his knowledge.
“‘Kelly did what?’ the president asked, stunned at the invasion of privacy,” Kushner wrote.
Trump added, “End that immediately.”
It’s unclear what exactly was banned by the Mulvaney-drafted order.
According to prior reporting, Trump sometimes would tell contacts to avoid the White House switchboard because he suspected that Kelly kept tabs on who called him, but it was not previously reported that Kelly allegedly surveilled the audio of Trump’s calls.
A person familiar with the assertions made by Kushner supported his account.
The source told The Post that Kelly’s eavesdropping “was possible and was happening” and that it was “wholly inappropriate for the chief — or anyone — to listen in on [Trump’s] calls without telling the president.”
The National Archives holds Trump White House records, but did not immediately respond to a request for comment on documentation that would support the account, such as a copy of the order.
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