Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, speaks to attendees ahead of the vice presidential debate at Longwood University in Farmville, Va., on Oct. 4, 2016.
Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty

Priebus, Trump offer different messages on intelligence briefings

Donald Trump’s habit of skipping intelligence briefings is the subject of considerable alarm. Senators are worried; former CIA officials are worried; even President Obama is worried, telling “The Daily Show” yesterday that the president-elect will be “flying blind” without information from U.S. intelligence agencies.

But according to RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, who’ll soon become White House chief of staff, we have it all wrong. Here’s what Priebus told Fox News this morning:
“[Trump is] doing his intelligence briefings every day and we do the presidential briefing – I think this week we’ll have three presidential briefings in the five days.

“I mean, this is a little bit ridiculous and over the top.”
This is getting a little confusing. First, Priebus’ explanation seems to contradict itself: Trump is receiving intelligence briefings “every day,” but the president-elect is also participating in the “presidential briefing” only three times this week? Who’s doing the intelligence briefings on the other days?

Second, Priebus’ explanation also seems to contradict Trump’s own acknowledgements on the matter.

In an interview that aired on Sunday, Fox News’ Chris Wallace asked the Republican about his disinterest in receiving classified information from U.S. intelligence agencies. “Well, I get it when I need it,” Trump replied. He added:
“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 and the same words every single day for the next eight years. It could be eight years – but eight years. I don’t need that.

“But I do say if something should change, let us know. Now, in the meantime, my generals are great, are being briefed. Mike Pence is being briefed, who is, by the way, one of my very good decisions. He’s terrific. And they’re being briefed. And I’m being briefed also.

“But if they’re going to come in and tell me the exact same thing that they told me, you know, that doesn’t change necessarily. There might be times where it might change. I mean, there will be some very fluid situations. I’ll be there not every day but more than that.

“But 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.”
Perhaps Trump and Priebus aren’t on the same page?


Donald Trump, Intelligence and Reince Priebus

Priebus, Trump offer different messages on intelligence briefings