Routine West Wing email outage prompts internal jokes about Russians

The lights weren’t the only thing that went out at the White House on Tuesday.

Shortly before the lights in the Roosevelt Room unexpectedly dimmed during President Donald Trump’s televised statement about Russian interference in the 2016 election, the White House Management Office sent staffers an email acknowledging “intermittent internet connectivity outages.”

The White House tech team is “aware of the issue and is troubleshooting the problem. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience,” read the email, which was obtained by POLITICO.

One White House official said the outage prompted jokes about Russian hacking among West Wing staffers dealing with the fallout of Trump’s news conference with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, where the U.S. president appeared to reject U.S. intelligence conclusions that the Kremlin attempted to influence the vote on Trump’s behalf.

During Roosevelt Room remarks Tuesday, Trump said he misspoke in Helsinki when Continue reading “Routine West Wing email outage prompts internal jokes about Russians”

White House imposed a ban on new interim security clearances last fall

The White House quietly imposed a ban on new interim security clearances for anyone in the executive office of the president last fall, but it let existing employees with interim clearances stay on, according to an email obtained by POLITICO.

The Nov. 7 internal email to senior leaders at the Office of Management and Budget said the White House personnel security office had advised that it would no longer grant interim security clearances. Pending requests for interim clearances were expected to be denied, though exceptions could be requested, according to the email.

Staffers who had already been granted interim security clearances — like former staff secretary Rob Porter, who resigned last week amid allegations of domestic abuse — could continue to hold them while their background investigations were finished, the email said.

The email does not shed light on the reason for the mandate, and POLITICO could not immediately determine Continue reading “White House imposed a ban on new interim security clearances last fall”