Report: Trump Has Dropped Most Intel Briefings From His Schedule

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Julie Zheng

President Trump has taken much fewer intelligence briefings than his predecessors.

President Donald Trump has shown less interest in taking the intelligence briefings, as the number of his scheduled briefings has dropped dramatically to near zero in recent weeks, according to HuffPost.

  • Trump’s scheduled intelligence briefings have dropped from 4.1 briefings per week on average in March 2017 to 0.7 per week since July 1.
  • “Monday’s briefing, in fact, was the first in August and the first since July 22. That month had only three briefings scheduled,” HuffPost reported.
  • Former CIA analyst and spokesman for the National Security Council during the Obama administration Ned Price said that “even at their peak, they never exceeded 20 per month. And now they are arguably more important than ever, as foreign actors are again interfering in our democracy, tensions with Beijing are swirling, and America’s adversaries and competitors are becoming more emboldened, the president can’t seem to find the time to be briefed.”
  • Contrarily, Republican George W. Bush had his briefings after his arrival in the Oval Office at 6:45 a.m. each day, while Democrat Barack Obama had the “President’s Daily Brief” at 6 a.m. sent to his iPad each day. Both of Trump’s predecessors took briefings every day.
  • Trump had 18 briefings on the 23 available weekdays in March 2017 and 17 briefings on the 20 available weekdays in April 2017, the HuffPost reported — but his interest appeared to wane after he fired former FBI Director James Comey.
  • “Up until that day, May 9, Trump had taken 54 intelligence briefings in his 110 days in office, an average of 3.4 per week. In the 1,200 days since then, he has received 281 briefings, an average of only 1.6 per week,” according to HuffPost.
  • White House officials have declined to comment, but White House communications director Alyssa Farah explained on Tuesday, saying, “The president is briefed on critical intelligence daily by his national security adviser, his career CIA briefer, and/or his chief of staff. He also takes part in full formal presidential intelligence briefings near weekly or every other week with the CIA director, national security adviser, director of national intelligence, White House counsel, and usually the secretary of treasury, secretary of state, and sometimes the secretary of defense in person in the Oval Office.”

Trump’s ignorance of intelligence may affect his reelection bid.

  • Trump called the intelligence reports about Russia offering bounties to the Taliban for American soldiers killed in Afghanistan as “fake news” that had “never reached” his desk, saying, “I read a lot. I spend a lot of time at meetings. Usually it’s once a day or at least two or three times a week, intelligence meetings.”
  • “He’s just not receptive to new facts,” John Bolton, Trump’s last national security adviser, told CBS News last month. “The intelligence briefings don’t communicate as much information as they should. We tried to think of ways to change that. I think it was probably a doomed effort.”
  • Trump has also downplayed the coronavirus pandemic for more than two months and ignored reports in his PDBs in January that a pneumonia-like virus was spreading in China.

“Whether it’s ignoring the impending pandemic or looking the other way in response to Moscow’s bounties on our service members, Trump has demonstrated time and again that he’s not one to put America’s national security first. Especially when doing so comes into conflict with what’s best for him politically,” said Price.

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