National Security

Report: Trump Doesn’t Read His Intelligence Briefings

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Analysis of Trump's daily schedule leaked to Axios tells us Trump has received an in-person intelligence briefing only 17 times in the last 85 days, and that may or may not be alarming, but sources who spoke to NBC News say he isn't reading his daily briefings either.

In short, he's not receiving much intelligence at all.

A series of recently published presidential schedules show that he has been in just 17 intelligence briefings over the last 85 days. That's about the same frequency as two of his predecessors, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, according to a former CIA briefer who has written a book on the subject. But unlike those former presidents, Trump does not regularly read the written intelligence briefing sent over each day to the White House, U.S. officials tell NBC News, and in private he frequently questions the integrity and judgment of the intelligence officials who are giving him secret information. [...]

"We have no evidence that Donald Trump is reading his president's daily brief on the days when he's not getting briefings," [former CIA briefer David Priess] said, "whereas President's Clinton and Obama, and all previous presidents, spent a lot of time either reading the presidents daily briefing" or discussing it."

Trump does not regularly read the document, U.S. officials tell NBC News — a state of affairs first reported by the Washington Post in February 2018.

It feels preposterous to even say it, but the very real fact is Trump receives a majority of his intelligence from Fox & Friends.

God help us.

  • Christopher Foxx

    Your headline is three words too long.

  • muselet

    It’s worse than that:

    When Trump believes something to be true, U.S. officials tell NBC News, it’s extremely difficult for them to dissuade him, even if they have a mountain of evidence he is wrong. And when he doubts something they are telling him, he often requires iron-clad proof of a type that is rarely available from intelligence collection.

    “This is the first president that the intelligence community has had to deal with whose instinctive departure point is not the truth,” David Priess, a former CIA briefer, said on MSNBC. “He goes from his belief first.”

    Donald Trump declined most intelligence briefings during the transition, too, explaining—if that be the right word—”Well, I get it when I need it.… I don’t need to be told—you know, I’m, like, a smart person.”

    I said in 2016, No, sir, you’re nothing like a smart person. That hasn’t changed in the past two years.