NEWS BRIEF Donald Trump may have been listening in to phone calls involving staff at Mar-a-Lago, according to a BuzzFeed report.
The presumptive Republican nominee “had a telephone console installed in his bedroom that acted like a switchboard, connecting to every phone extension on the estate,” the report says, citing six ex-workers. The report continues:
Four of them — speaking on condition of anonymity because they signed nondisclosure agreements — said that Trump listened in on phone calls at the club during the mid-2000s. They did not know if he eavesdropped more recently.
They said he listened in on calls between club employees or, in some cases, between staff and guests. None of them knew of Trump eavesdropping on guests or members talking on private calls with people who were not employees of Mar-a-Lago. They also said that Trump could eavesdrop only on calls made on the club’s landlines and not on calls made from guests’ cell phones.
Trump’s spokeswoman reportedly responded to a series of questions, saying “This is totally and completely untrue.” Sources cited by BuzzFeed recalled instances when it appeared Trump was eavesdropping on a phone call. In one case, the real-estate mogul followed up on a situation with a staffer that would have been difficult to know about “unless you were eavesdropping.” In another, a source noted that a light on a separate switchboard would come on when Trump dropped in on a call. As the report notes, it’s not clear that Trump’s doing so would have been illegal, given that these were company phones used by his employees for business purposes.
Since launching his presidential campaign, Trump has held various campaign functions at his Mar-A-Lago beach resort. Sources cited in the report did not know whether he intercepted phone calls recently. Last month, The New York Times reported that concerns were growing among campaign staffers that phones in Trump Towers offices might be bugged.