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Getting Briefed On Presidential Daily Briefings With David Priess

According to multiple reports, President Donald Trump doesn't usually read his daily national security briefing. What is he missing?
According to multiple reports, President Donald Trump doesn't usually read his daily national security briefing. What is he missing?

For over 60 years, U.S. Presidents have received daily briefings from the intelligence community. These highly classified written dossiers are known as Presidential Daily Briefings (PDB) and outline credible national security threats. Breaking with tradition, President Donald Trump reportedly does not usually read the PDB, though White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany disputed those reports on July 1.

From a 2018 article in The Washington Post:

Trump has opted to rely on an oral briefing of select intelligence issues in the Oval Office rather than getting the full written document delivered to review separately each day, according to three people familiar with his briefings.

Reading the traditionally dense intelligence book is not Trump’s preferred “style of learning,” according to a person with knowledge of the situation. 

The arrangement underscores Trump’s impatience with exhaustive classified documents that go to the commander in chief — material that he has said he prefers condensed as much as possible. But by not reading the daily briefing, the president could hamper his ability to respond to crises in the most effective manner, intelligence experts warned.

Now, PDBs are in the national spotlight due to allegations of bounties offered by Russia to the Taliban for the killing of U.S. troops. Congressional Democrats are asking how much the President knew about these bounties and the deaths of these troops in Afghanistan in 2019. While the White House has denied the President’s knowledge, other officials are saying the information was included in a PDB he received.

We talk with David Priess, author of  How to Get Rid of a President, about the role of Presidential Daily Briefings.

How do they inform the president? What usually gets included and what gets left off?

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