President Donald Trump uses the term “fake news” frequently whenever news reports come about detailing the inner-workings of his White House, and it’s not uncommon for him to deride accounts of what goes on if they come from unnamed sources.
But according to a report from Politico — in which at least seven former Trump officials spoke to them about the issue — the leaks from the White House are particularly jarring to the commander-in-chief, enough to rouse him into threatening to put his employees to a polygraph “lie detector” test in order to weed out the purported leaker.
“He talked about it a lot. He’d be angry and ask, ‘Why can’t we stop these things?'” one former official said of Trump’s behavior.
Some former officials believe that the president’s calls for polygraph tests are simply threats to make when leaks happen. Others said it was something he called for, and that they’d agree to, if only to ease his mind on the matter.
“It was something that was discussed and people were trying to placate the president and trying to show that they were taking it as personally and just as seriously as he was,” one former official said. “Taking that line of, ‘Oh yeah, we have to polygraph people’ was a way to ingratiate themselves with him, but it wasn’t an idea that ever went anywhere because it was absurd.”
However, a separate official recalled a specific incident when a leak happened, and how Trump reacted to it. “He wanted to polygraph every employee in the building to unearth who it was who spoke to the press,” they said.
Trump has reportedly considered ordering staffers to take polygraph tests https://t.co/m9Orb7Ekne
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) October 8, 2019
That official noted that the president would get especially irate if the leaked news was truthful.
Trump’s desire for polygraph tests, if these seven sources’ accounts are to be taken as true, demonstrates an obsession that is based in a science that isn’t 100 percent accurate. According to the American Psychological Association, “most psychologists agree that there is little evidence that polygraph tests can accurately detect lies,” Mental Floss reported.
Polygraph tests aren’t considered reliable in most U.S. states. In fact, only 23 states allow “lie detector” tests to be used in courtroom proceedings, and most of those states have provisions that only let such tests to be entered as evidence if both the defense and prosecution agree to them.
But as Trump seems to be obsessed with their outcome, believing in them enough to produce results he can rely on, it seems that a significant figure from his past has used a polygraph test before, and come out with flying colors. Stormy Daniels, who alleged that she and Trump had an affair with one another in 2006, took a polygraph test in 2011, Business Insider reported. The test determined, according to those who administered it, that she was not lying about their tryst…that is, if you believe those sorts of things.