White House investigates leaks of Trump calls to Australia, Mexico


 Reuters International

A pedestrian looks at a newspaper headline regarding U.S. President Donald Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in central Sydney, Australia, February 3, 2017. REUTERS/David Gray

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House is looking into how embarrassing details of President Donald Trump's recent tense phone conversations with his counterparts in Australia and Mexico were leaked to news organizations, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said on Fox News Channel.

"The president takes these leaks very seriously," Spicer said in an interview with Fox News Channel, which on Friday provided a transcript of a segment set to air on Saturday.

Trump cut short a phone call with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull after an acrimonious discussion about a refugee swap deal, a conversation that threatened ties between the two allies after details appeared in The Washington Post.

In an earlier call with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto about paying for a wall on the southern U.S. border, Trump said he might send the U.S. military to Mexico to stop drug cartels - details from a transcript obtained by a Mexican news organisation Aristegui Noticias and the Associated Press. The White House later said the comments were meant to be lighthearted.

"That’s troubling and I think the president has asked the team to look into this because those are very serious implications," Spicer said.

Spicer described the conversations as "candid" but respectful, and has noted that both the Australian and Mexican governments have disputed some of the details.

White House officials did not respond to requests for comment on the investigation into the leaks.

Trump told politicians and faith leaders at a prayer breakfast that he was having difficult conversations with world leaders as he worked to overhaul immigration rules.

"Believe me, when you hear about the tough phone calls I'm having - don't worry about it. Just don't worry about it," Trump told the leaders.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by James Dalgleish)

Reuters

 Reuters International