White House says Trump reads amid questions about his handling of intelligence briefing

Announced an hour forward of time, the briefing got here as Trump’s election-year rival Joe Biden accused the President of shirking his duties as commander in chief by not performing on the intelligence when it first appeared within the President’s Daily Brief, the extremely labeled abstract of the nation’s secrets and techniques.

The White House has insisted the knowledge was neither verified nor credible, and mentioned it did not attain Trump as a result of there was no consensus inside the intelligence group about its veracity.

Yet the information about Russian bounties was included in a President’s Daily Brief someday within the spring, based on a US official with direct information of the newest data. That evaluation, the supply mentioned, was backed up by “several pieces of information” that supported the view that there was an effort by the Russian intelligence unit — the GRU — to pay bounties to kill US troopers, together with interrogation of Taliban detainees and digital eavesdropping.

Trump shouldn’t be identified to totally or frequently learn the PDB, one thing that’s well-known inside the White House. He is as an alternative orally briefed two or 3 times every week by his intelligence officers.

Without confirming whether or not the knowledge was included within the written doc — one thing she claimed she would by no means “sit here and confirm or deny” — press secretary Kayleigh McEnany insisted Trump does learn.

“The President does read and he also consumes intelligence verbally,” she mentioned when questioned why Trump is not studying the PDB.

“This President, I will tell you, is the most informed person on planet Earth when it comes to the threats we face,” McEnany added, pointing to common telephone calls between Trump and his nationwide safety adviser Robert O’Brien. “He is constantly being informed and briefed on intelligence matters. But I’m not going to allow The New York Times to dictate when we give top-secret information and don’t give top-secret information.”

Tuesday’s briefing was the newest try and steer questions away from the intelligence — and Trump’s obvious lack of response — and towards the leaks that allowed the knowledge to return to gentle. The White House has defended Trump’s handling of the matter however hasn’t mentioned how he would possibly punish Russia if the knowledge is discovered to be true.

After briefing Republican and Democratic lawmakers on the matter this week, McEnany mentioned Trump had been been up to date as nicely. She had declined to make that announcement a day earlier.

“The President has been briefed on what is unfortunately in the public domain,” McEnany mentioned. “He has been briefed, but that does not change the fact that there is no consensus on this intelligence that still has yet to be verified.”

But she would not say whether or not Trump was reconsidering inviting Russian President Vladimir Putin to a meeting of the G7, a step Trump has already introduced as he hopes to convene the group in September. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell mentioned earlier Tuesday that Russia ought to “absolutely not” be readmitted into the group, however McEnany mentioned she hadn’t mentioned the matter with the President.
In the hour earlier than Tuesday’s briefing was introduced, Biden delivered a speech and answered questions wherein he excoriated Trump’s handling of the state of affairs.

“The idea that somehow he didn’t know or isn’t being briefed, it is a dereliction of duty if that is the case,” the previous vp mentioned throughout an occasion at a highschool in Wilmington, Delaware. “If he was briefed and nothing was done about this, that’s a dereliction of duty,”

Despite McEnany’s claims, a number of officers have instructed CNN that Trump shouldn’t be an avid shopper of the PDB, the extremely labeled written doc ready earlier than daybreak by intelligence analysts that’s meant to offer the commander in chief with an replace on international points.

Even after intelligence analysts added extra photographs and charts to enchantment to Trump’s studying fashion, the doc typically went unread, based on folks acquainted with the matter.

Instead, Trump prefers an oral briefing a couple of occasions every week. But even in these periods, contributors have described the President as often distracted by no matter is bothering him that day, which regularly features a unfavourable cable information section or newspaper article, inflicting his intelligence briefings to be derailed.

A former senior administration official who was half of the workforce that delivered Trump’s intelligence briefings mentioned the President usually depends on a graphic-driven summation of present threats accompanied by an oral briefing, as an alternative of studying by the fabric compiled by nationwide safety aides.

“He processes things by discussing them,” the official mentioned. “So the presentation of the PDB has been tailored to that. The briefers will always want to get key points across. But he drives discussion how he wants.”

The official mentioned Trump typically complained about the knowledge offered to him on the briefings, preferring to have potential options to nationwide safety threats supplied to him relatively than simply the issues.

“He’s typically frustrated with intelligence because it shows a problem but doesn’t provide an answer,” the official mentioned.

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