WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Donald J. Trump may have inadvertently committed three felonies in the hours leading up to his noontime intelligence briefing on Thursday, a senior administration official with firsthand knowledge of the events told the Associated Press.
The excitement began around 5:45 a.m. Thursday morning as Secret Service agents responded to a smoke alarm in the Executive Residence. There, agents encountered the president and first lady standing in silence in the Family Kitchen with the charred remains of what appeared to be a pile of U.S. currency smoldering on a nearby table. President Trump later told aides he had set fire to a garbage bag stuffed with hundred dollar bills “to make a point.”
At approximately 7:30 a.m. that same morning, the White House was placed on lockdown after Duke, a three-year veteran of the Secret Service K-9 Division, was found dead in the Rose Garden. The lockdown was lifted less than fifteen minutes later after President Trump told a member of the White House communications team that the bomb-sniffing dog had begun foaming at the mouth while he was feeding it spoonfuls of chocolate syrup during a Fox & Friends commercial break.
Later, as administration officials gathered outside the Oval Office for an 11:45 a.m. intelligence briefing with President Trump, a senior White House official who serves as counselor and assistant to the president watched as Mr. Trump opened, read, and promptly shredded a piece of diplomatic correspondence addressed to Vice President Mike Pence.
Speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press, White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told Real News Right Now that “almost everyone in the West Wing” has witnessed President Trump open mail addressed to Mike Pence. “Honestly, it happens so often now that we’ve lost count,” Mr. Mulvaney conceded, adding, “That being said, I can point to eight or nine instances where he’s done it in full view of the vice president.”