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Intel agencies hire outside consultants to study how to get Trump to understand national security info

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US President Donald Trump speaks about the impeachment inquiry during a tour of the Flextronics computer manufacturing facility in Austin, Texas (AFP Photo/MANDEL NGAN)

U.S. Intelligence agencies have been forced to hire outside consultants to study how to present vital national security information to President Donald Trump in a way he will understand the data, The New York Times reports.

Trump, unlike most presidents, is infamous for not reading his daily briefing materials or even paying attention during his oral briefings, now just two or three days a week. But unlike most presidents, Trump prefers to rely on conversations he has with close friends instead of information collected by the nation’s top spies and intelligence professionals.

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“The president veers off on tangents and getting him back on topic is difficult,” The Times adds, citing former intelligence officials. “He has a short attention span and rarely, if ever, reads intelligence reports, relying instead on conservative media and his friends for information. He is unashamed to interrupt intelligence officers and riff based on tips or gossip he hears from the former casino magnate Steve Wynn, the retired golfer Gary Player or Christopher Ruddy, the conservative media executive.”

President Trump “rarely absorbs information that he disagrees with or that runs counter to his worldview, the officials said. Briefing him has been so great a challenge compared with his predecessors that the intelligence agencies have hired outside consultants to study how better to present information to him.”

Trump’s inability and lack of interest in understanding the forces that daily threaten America’s 3.8 million square miles and nearly 330 million people was never more an issue than at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. To date, nearly 100,000 Americans have died from the virus.

Studies, including one released Wednesday, show that had President Trump acted just one week earlier, 36,000 lives would have been saved.

But Trump “has insisted that the intelligence agencies gave him inadequate warnings about the threat of the virus, describing it as ‘not a big deal,'” The Times notes, referring to a January 23 briefing.

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Trump blamed that questionable claim on “a C.I.A. analyst with three decades of experience.” He also “ignored a host of warnings he received around that time from higher-ranking officials, epidemiologists, scientists, biodefense officials, other national security aides and the news media about the virus’s growing threat. Mr. Trump’s own health secretary had alerted him five days earlier to the potential seriousness of the virus.”

Despite all the early warnings about the impending global pandemic, “Trump balked at further measures that might have slowed its spread.”


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Trump has selected Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace RBG on the Supreme Court: NYT

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President Donald Trump is to announce on Saturday that he will nominate Judge Amy Coney Barrett as an Associate Justice on the United States Supreme Court.

"President Trump has selected Judge Amy Coney Barrett, the favorite candidate of conservatives, to succeed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and will try to force Senate confirmation before Election Day in a move that would significantly alter the ideological makeup of the Supreme Court for years," New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker reported Friday.

"Mr. Trump plans to announce on Saturday that she is his choice, according to people close to the process who asked not to be identified disclosing the decision in advance. The president met with Judge Barrett at the White House this week and came away impressed with a jurist that leading conservatives told him would be a female Antonin Scalia, referring to the justice who died in 2016 and for whom Judge Barrett clerked," the newspaper explained.

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Lincoln Project drops new ad targeting ‘hypocritical Republican Senators’ pushing Trump’s SCOTUS pick

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The anti-Trump Republican PAC Lincoln Project dropped a new ad this Friday, this time targeting President Trump's upcoming announcement of his pick to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the "hypocritical Republican Senators who have vowed to push Trump’s nomination through the Senate before the next president can be sworn in."

"The 60-second ad 'The Choice' condemns Republican Senators for tearing the country apart in their unending quest for power and position. It admonishes their unchecked power in their attempt to remake America in Trump’s image," the group said on its website.

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‘I feel sorry for Americans’ — The world grieves for the US because of Trump’s disastrous presidency

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Reading non-U.S. publications is an excellent way to gauge what other countries are thinking about life in the United States under the Trump Administration. But U.S. publications sometimes address that subject as well, and New York Times reporter Hannah Beech — in an article published this week — takes an in-depth look at non-U.S. reactions to the effects that the coronavirus pandemic and other crises are having in the U.S.

From Canada to Myanmar, Beech reports, much of the world feels badly for Americans in light of how deadly COVID-19 has been in the United States — which leads the world in deaths from the novel coronavirus.

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