Trump confirmed today that he did leak classified material from an ally to Russia, and then during McMaster's briefing, he admitted, "The President wasn’t even aware of where this Information came from," is simply beyond belief.
So I thought it wise to revisit Trump's past statements on why he doesn't believe he needs to attend presidential intelligence briefing every day. Because McMaster's statement today-- "The President wasn’t even aware of where this Information came from" -- is beyond belief.
On Fox News Sunday's Dec., 12th broadcast, host Chris Wallace asked Trump about his skepticism about the Intelligence community.
Wallace: "You are getting the presidential daily brief [Yes] only once a week."
Trump: "Well I get it when I need it.
Wallace: But if there's some skepticism..."
Trump: "First of all these are very good people that are giving me the briefings. “‘If something should change from this point, immediately call me. I’m available on a one-minute’s notice. I don’t have to be told, You know, I’m, like, a smart person. I don’t have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day for the next eight years."
He loves his very smart generals and Mike Pence to make those decisions for him.
He continued, "I don't need to be told Chris, the same thing, every day, every morning, same words. 'Sir, nothing has changed,' let's go over it again. I don't need that"
Trump seemed to think the PDB's only concern with emergency situations of some kind.
Shelly wrote this for us at the time of this interview.
The purpose of the briefing is to give the Commander-in-Chief a synopsis of important intelligence events, including updates on previous intelligence releases. We can actually look at PDBs from several administrations at the CIA. I've looked at several. They're not large, they don't take much time, and they all contain something new, relevant, and important.
Trump's disinterest in keeping up-to-date on important security information is the most profound abrogation of responsibility ever exhibited by a person about to take command of our nuclear codes and the combined might of our military.
Pence being given the PDB is not a sufficient replacement. No President has ever turned over their Commander-in-Chief responsibilities to their Vice President—not without being dead or completely incapacitated.
One of my biggest qualms with this narcissistic braggart is his unwillingness to take any time at all to learn, well anything involved with being a U.S. president.
In less than four months, Trump's only real interests seem to be a) to watch cable TV news incessantly and critique the networks on how they "treat him.," and b) hold court as a King at the White House to inflate his ego even more.
The Economist writes, "DONALD TRUMP rules over Washington as if he were a king and the White House his court. His displays of dominance, his need to be the centre of attention and his impetuousness have a whiff of Henry VIII about them. Fortified by his belief that his extraordinary route to power is proof of the collective mediocrity of Congress, the bureaucracy and the media, he attacks any person and any idea standing in his way."
PRI then interviewed The Economist’s Washington bureau chief David Rennie, who was on the team of four reporters that conducted the interview.
Digby grabbed this part and it's frightening:
TW: So this interview was in the Oval Office. What did the atmosphere there feel like?
DR: It's kind of like being in a royal palace several hundred years ago, with people coming in and out, trying to catch the ear of the king. That's the feel at the Trump Oval Office. He likes to be surrounded by his courtiers.
TW: Your magazine described it as being a little bit like Henry VIII.
DR: There is a "Tudor court" side to it. And the role of some pretty senior figures, including cabinet secretaries, was to chime in and agree with whatever the president had just said, rather than offering candid advice.
There was a moment with Steve Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary.
We were talking [to Trump] about China and currency manipulation. On the campaign trail, Trump was very ferocious about [calling China a currency manipulator.] [In our interview], he said, “As soon as I started talking about China being a currency manipulator, they cut it out.” Actually that’s not true. China [stopped manipulating the currency] two or three years ago.
What was striking was, when he made that point, Steve Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, chimed in and said, “Oh yeah. The day he became president, they changed their behavior!” And factually, that’s just not right. It's quite striking to see a cabinet secretary making that point in that way.
Trump's ego is such, that the leaking of classified information to our enemies is but a tip in the bucket since he will never admit he was wrong or ever take the time to change his ways.