The disclosure of full transcripts of President Trump's calls with foreign leaders Thursday comes as the Justice Department places new emphasis on leaks.
As readers perused the documents, detailing calls earlier this year between Trump and the leaders of Australia and Mexico, authorities prepared to present at least the appearance of a crackdown.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats will hold a press briefing Friday to address leaks of classified material considered threatening to national security.
The event was planned before the latest disclosure, but will highlight a commitment to addressing criminal leaks, with distribution of the transcripts among the most significant.
The White House declined to respond to the latest leak, but Trump has forcefully condemned previous disclosures. He directly criticized Sessions on Twitter last week for taking what he called a "VERY weak position" on intelligence leaks.
Trump's Twitter feed was silent on the matter Thursday as he prepared for a rally in West Virginia. White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters confirmed there would be no comment on the leak.
Adding intrigue to the latest disclosure, the release of transcripts comes a day after a significant shakeup inside the White House National Security Council with the ouster of senior staffer Ezra Cohen-Watnick, though there is no indication of any connection.
Many details from the calls had been reported previously, but not the full transcripts. The content of calls between Trump and foreign leaders is presumptively classified.
The Washington Post does not describe when or from whom it acquired the transcripts, which feature Trump telling Mexican President Peña Nieto that "New Hampshire is a drug-infested den" and that men could "almost become the fathers of our country — almost, not quite, OK?"
Trump complained to Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull about a refugee resettlement deal, saying "this is the most unpleasant call all day" and that "Putin was a pleasant call," according to the Post.
Ned Price, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council during the Obama administration, says "the content of the calls is troubling," but that he believes it's also "a tremendous breach of trust to leak these transcripts wholesale — presidents need to be able to have candid conversations with their counterparts, and this could well have a chilling effect going forward."
"I would've lost my mind if transcripts of Obama's calls to foreign leaders leaked. He wouldn't have sounded so dumb, but it's still absurd," tweeted fellow Obama-era NSC spokesman Tommy Vietor.
Current National Security Council spokesman Michael Anton did not respond to requests for comment.
Attorney Jesselyn Radack, a former Justice Department ethics adviser who has represented many high-profile criminal leak defendants — including former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, former NSA official Thomas Drake, and former CIA employee John Kiriakou — said it's hard to tell how likely it is that investigators will catch the person or people responsible.
"That depends on the specificity of the information leaked, how many people had access to it and what means was used to leak it," she said.
One alleged criminal leaker, NSA contractor Reality Winner, was arrested in June after allegedly leaking a document addressing Russian attempts to hack voting systems. She allegedly was one of six people to print that document, which placed her in the crosshairs of investigators.
In addition to the latest transcripts, details of a call between Trump and the leader of the Philippines were leaked earlier this year to The Intercept by a member of that country's government. The Post reports that the origin of its transcripts was American.