China, Russia eavesdrop on Donald Trump’s phone calls: NYT Report

Glen Norman
October 28, 2018

Beijing, Oct 25 China on Thursday dismissed as "fake news" a report in the New York Times that said Beijing was tapping into a personal mobile phone of US President Donald Trump.

The report in the New York Times said that China, and Russian Federation, were intercepting calls made on Mr Trump's personal iPhone to try to gain an insight into his thinking.

"If they are really very anxious about Apple phones being bugged, then they can change to using Huawei", she said, referring to China's biggest telecommunications equipment maker.

Regarding her suggestion that Trump use a Huawei instead of an iPhone, this appears to be a sly reference to the United States government forbidding its agencies from using any technologies or services from the Chinese company.


Trump pushed back against the idea that he uses insecure mobile phones, tweeting on Thursday that he only uses government phones "and have only one seldom-used government cell phone". Trump would have been invited to use the White House fixed the line, which is more secure but prefers to chat on his personal phone.

"Once more, we are confronted with the ugly reality that Republicans refuse to exercise any oversight or stand up to the president, even to implore him to protect vital national security interests", she wrote.

"If they are still not at ease, then in order to have an entirely secure device, they can stop using all forms of modern communication devices and cut off all ties with the outside world."

In accusing the newspaper of fabricating news, Hua echoed language used by Trump, who has often accused the New York Times of making up stories.


Russian Federation also denied the eavesdropping claims. "We already treat such publications with humour", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, while not directly denying the report.

The New York Times said Trump typically relies on his cellphones when he does not want a call going through the White House switchboard and logged for senior aides to see.

China has been listening in on Mr Trump's calls in an effort to predict his policy moves to avoid escalating a trade war, intelligence officials told the U.S. newspaper. The Chinese, for example, have put together a list of President Trump's friends and are hoping to influence him through these trusted sources.

Chinese officials rely on Chinese businessmen and others with ties to Beijing to feed arguments and viewpoints to Trump's friends in an effort to influence him, the Times reported, citing the us officials. In a Wall Street Journal interview this week, the president said "don't give it to me on the phone".


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