Donald Trump likes his daily intelligence briefings to be short and with “killer graphics,” The Washington Post reported on Monday.
“That’s our task, right? To deliver the material in a way that he can best understand the information we’re trying to communicate,” CIA Director Mike Pompeo told The Post, adding that Trump frequently stops briefings to ask questions and likes to look over graphics such as maps and charts.
According to The Post, Trump receives his daily intelligence briefings over a glass of Diet Coke at about 10:30 a.m. While intelligence analysts present the information, Trump insists that top appointees such as Pompeo and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats be present.
“I like bullets, or I like as little as possible,” Trump told the news website Axios before his inauguration in January. “I don’t need, you know, 200-page reports on something that can be handled on a page.”
Pompeo described the briefings as a “very oral, interactive discussion.” He and Coats have had to rearrange their morning routines to brief Trump in person every day.
But while Pompeo said that he, too, preferred to “get to the core of the issue quickly,” Trump’s laissez-faire attitude toward intelligence briefings has at times raised alarm. Earlier this month, after reports that Trump shared highly classified information about ISIS during a meeting with Russia’s foreign minister and ambassador to the US, Trump said it was his “absolute right” to disclose such information.
Mark Lowenthal, a former assistant director of the CIA, told The Post that Trump’s “lack of previous exposure” to such intelligence could lead to more unprecedented blunders with highly classified material.
“Pompeo and Coats are doing their best to give him the most accurate daily briefing, but my sense is in the rank-and-file, they are very worried about how do you deal with him and about sharing with him sensitive material,” Lowenthal said.
Vice President Mike Pence and senior adviser Jared Kushner also often listen in on the briefings, according to The Post.
Intelligence officials told The Post that Trump’s daily briefings were a chance for them to show Trump – who once told Fox News that he would not need intelligence briefings every day – the extent of the government’s knowledge.