Chris Whipple is the author of the forthcoming book “The Spymasters: How the CIA Directors Shape History and the Future.”
Another question may be as important: How does Trump absorb information? For decades, the president’s daily briefs (PDBs) have sounded early warnings on everything from enemy troop movements to pandemics to terrorist attacks. Yet under Trump, the president’s intelligence briefings have almost completely broken down. His oral briefings, given daily to most presidents, now take place as rarely as once or twice a week. These sessions often turn into monologues in which the president spitballs woolly conspiracy theories from Breitbart, Fox News and hangers-on at Mar-a-Lago, say intelligence officials who are familiar with his briefings. Convinced that the intelligence community is a “deep state,” honeycombed with traitors, the president rarely believes anything the CIA tells him.
In short, Trump is unbriefable.