I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year by Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker:
On May 31, as protestors took to the streets in Washington for the third day straight, The New York Times reported that Trump had been taken to the bunker two nights earlier. The report, which was confirmed by other outlets and replayed heavily on cable news, infuriated the president because he thought it made him appear scared and weak. Trump demanded to know who had leaked this news to Maggie Haberman and Peter Baker of the Times. He told Mark Meadows, “Mark, you have to catch whoever leaked that. They should be in prison. They should be tried for treason. This is treasonous!”
“I’m on it,” Meadows said. “I’m on it.”
The bunker story would become an obsession of the new chief of staff’s—and he would spend hours pursuing possible leads on the identity of the leaker, through the release of this White House gossip didn’t constitute a crime and Meadows’s fixation got in the way of his job managing the entire executive branch. Meadows would tell other aides that he suspected the leak originated from the first lady’s office, but he would never uncover solid enough evidence to make a convincing case.
A few days later, Trump would deny what had happened. “It was a false report,” Trump said in a call-in interview with Fox News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade. “I went down during the day, and I was there for a tiny, little, short period of time, and it was much more for an inspection.”
Trump’s risible explanation was a lie. His aides knew it. His Secret Service agents knew it.