CNN host and reporter Jim Sciutto’s upcoming book wasn’t scheduled to be released until Aug. 11, but his findings are proving to be critically important as news continues to be released about what President Donald Trump knew about the Russian plot to pay Afghan militants to kill American soldiers.
The Madman Theory: Trump Takes on the World walks through the concerning ways in which Trump refuses to listen to any negative intelligence about Russia and President Vladimir Putin. The White House denied that Trump was briefed on the story, but it was proven that the information was in the Presidential Daily Briefing (PDB) in February. The White House, as an excuse, has said that Trump doesn’t always read the PDB.
Because Trump wouldn’t read the briefing book, intelligence officials would deliver the intelligence to him orally using charts, graphs and pictures.
“Multiple former administration officials I spoke to for my upcoming book… paint a picture of a president often unwilling to hear bad news about Russia,” wrote Sciutto. “According to one former senior intelligence official, the President’s briefers had one simple rule with Trump: never lead with Russia.”
Intel officials learned early on in the Trump administration that if there was something in Trump’s oral “flashcard” briefing that dealt with Russia’s activities against the U.S., Trump would “blow up at them, demanding to know why they kept focusing on Russia and often questioning the intelligence itself,” wrote Sciutto, citing multiple former administration officials.
“The President has created an environment that dissuades, if not prohibits, the mentioning of any intelligence that isn’t favorable to Russia,” a former senior member of Trump’s national security staff told me.
The White House has said Trump wasn’t briefed on it and since he doesn’t read his Presidential Daily Briefing, he didn’t read about the imminent threats facing American soldiers.
Trump said that the intelligence was fake and attacked the New York Times for the report alleging that they were making up the sources and the story.