On a cold and snowy day outside the White House, inside, the heat is on.
President Donald Trump is fired up and infuriated over yet another leak, this time about his call with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Outrage stirred on Tuesday after the president said he called and congratulated Putin on his electoral victory.
Republicans and Democrats wondered once again why the president didn’t take a heavier hand with Putin, scolding him for Russian election meddling or the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain.
“I haven’t heard anybody in the legislative branch say they thought that was a great idea,” said Sen. John Cornyn.
“This is like congratulating Saddam Hussein when he got 98 percent of the vote in the Iraqi elections,” Rep. Tim Ryan said.
But it turns out the president didn’t follow the script from his national security advisers, who wrote in all capital letters “do not congratulate” in his Putin briefing papers.
A Washington Post report about the president ignoring that advice sparked recriminations Wednesday in the West Wing.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly launched an investigation, specifically targeting anyone from the national security team who may be trying to undermine the president.
“Someone leaked the president’s briefing papers. Leaking such information is a fireable offense and likely illegal,” one senior White House official told CNN.
Another official called the leak “unacceptable.”
With the federal government closed for the unseasonal spring snowstorm, the White House canceled the president’s public schedule.
Even so, that didn’t stop him from lashing out once again at the Russia probe.
As the president gets closer to deciding whether to sit down with special counsel Robert Mueller, he tried again today to discredit the investigation.
In a tweet, filled with misspellings, he quoted lawyer Alan Dershowitz, who wrote: “I think President Trump was right when he said there never should have been a special counsel appointed because there was no probable cause for believing that there was any crime, collusion or otherwise or obstruction of justice.”
On Capitol Hill, Republicans have roundly rejected the president’s criticism of the special counsel.
“I don’t agree with that. My advice to the president from the beginning has been that he should have no comment whatsoever on Mr. Mueller’s investigation until it is completed,” Sen. Susan Collins said.
The leak also came as National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster’s future remains in question. The White House has denied that McMaster is on his way out.