Trump raged that whoever leaked that he'd hidden in the White House bunker during anti-racism protests should be 'charged with treason' and 'executed,' book says

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Trump raged that whoever leaked that he'd hidden in the White House bunker during anti-racism protests should be 'charged with treason' and 'executed,' book says
Former President Donald J. Trump. Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images
  • Trump was furious after someone leaked that he'd hidden in the White House bunker during protests, a new book says.
  • He said the leaker should be "charged with treason" and "executed," the book says, according to CNN.
  • He reportedly became "obsessed" with finding out who'd leaked that information.

President Donald Trump was furious after reports last year said he and his family hid in the White House bunker during the George Floyd protests, and he said whoever leaked that information should be executed, according to a new book by The Wall Street Journal's Michael Bender.

In "Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost," Bender wrote that Trump seethed about the bunker story during a meeting with military and law-enforcement officials and West Wing advisors, according to CNN, which published excerpts from the book on Tuesday.

According to CNN, Bender wrote that the president "boiled over about the bunker story as soon as they arrived and shouted at them to smoke out whoever had leaked it."

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"It was the most upset some aides had ever seen the president," the book continued, according to CNN. "'Whoever did that, they should be charged with treason!' Trump yelled. 'They should be executed!'"

Read more: Where is Trump's White House staff now? We created a searchable database of more than 327 top staffers to show where they all landed

Mark Meadows, Trump's chief of staff, tried to calm the president down, while other aides avoided making eye contact with him, the book said, according to CNN. In the following days, it said, Trump became "obsessed" with discovering who had leaked the story, and those who had witnessed his reaction saw it "as a sign of a president in panic."

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Trump tried to downplay the bunker visit in an interview with Fox News' Brian Kilmeade, saying he'd been there to inspect it, not to hide.

"I was there for a tiny, short little period of time," Trump said. "They said it would be a good time to go down and take a look because maybe sometime you're going to need it."

The president added that he'd visited the bunker "two and a half times" before for various "things" related to inspections.

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Trump had previously suggested that his perceived opponents be executed.

In May 2019, Trump indicated that he thought senior FBI officials who investigated his campaign's ties to Russia during the 2016 election had committed treason and should be put to death.

"Sir, the Constitution says treason is punishable by death. You've accused your adversaries of treason. Who specifically are you accusing of treason?" NBC's Peter Alexander asked Trump at a White House event.

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"Well, I think a number of people" in the bureau "have unsuccessfully tried to take down the wrong person," Trump replied, pointing to former FBI Director James Comey; former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe; Peter Strzok, a former FBI agent; and Lisa Page, a former FBI lawyer.

In September of that year, Trump said Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, should be arrested for treason. At the time, Schiff was spearheading an impeachment inquiry into Trump's efforts to strong-arm the Ukrainian government into launching bogus investigations targeting the Bidens while he withheld military aid and a White House meeting.

"Rep. Adam Schiff illegally made up a FAKE & terrible statement, pretended it to be mine as the most important part of my call to the Ukrainian President, and read it aloud to Congress and the American people," Trump tweeted on September 30. "It bore NO relationship to what I said on the call. Arrest for Treason?"

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A few days earlier, Trump had suggested that the whistleblower who used legal avenues to alert Schiff's committee to his Ukraine efforts was a "spy" and had committed treason, reports said.

"I want to know who's the person, who's the person who gave the whistleblower the information? Because that's close to a spy," he reportedly said at a private breakfast in New York.

Trump added: "You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart? Right? The spies and treason, we used to handle it a little differently than we do now."

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