The United States intelligence community said that they "struggled" to brief then-President-elect Donald Trump after his 2016 electoral win, achieving only "limited success" in educating the Republican businessman and developing a functional relationship with him.
The new information comes from a newly released unclassified history of the transition period that the CIA's in-house academic center published. Despite Trump's substantial time with intelligence briefers on a regular basis throughout the transition period, his approach and deep skepticism of the intelligence community were a problem.
Most Difficult POTUS To Brief
The Republican businessman presented the intelligence community with "greater challenges" than they faced with President-elect Richard Nixon, who blamed the CIA in 1960, arguing the agency caused him to lose the elections.
The CIA's 40-page narrative, which is a regular update to a book on briefing presidents-elect that was written by a retired intelligence officer, was only able to provide few new details. However, it confirms widely reported press accounts of how former United States President Trump approached the intelligence community and their efforts, CNN reported.
It was also revealed that in Trump's final weeks as the POTUS, he stopped receiving presidential briefings by intelligence officers. The briefings ended after the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill riot, said the published book.
In his book, John Helgerson said that Trump was a leader that was "suspicious and insecure about the intelligence process." The writing revealed that the Republican businessman received briefings about twice a week, which continued even after the 2020 elections.
"When Sanner briefed the president before he went to Mar-a-Lago for the holidays, he commented that he would see her later. The briefings were to resume on 6 January but none were scheduled after the attack on the Capitol," said Helgerson, referencing former presidential briefer Beth Sanner, Yahoo News reported.
In his book, Helgerson said that the only comparable former president of the United States that was as difficult to brief as Trump was Nixon because he declined to work with the intelligence community and instead hired his own intermediary where he got his information.
Comparison to Richard Nixon
Helgerson said the Republican businessman was a lot like Nixon but instead of ignoring the intelligence community, Trump attacked workers publicly. The former intelligence personnel's book was first published in 1996 and is continuously updated with each new president that is elected, Business Insider reported.
During Trump's early days as the president of the United States, history reports revealed that he was typically "pleasant and courteous" during his briefings. Even when the Republican businessman expressed his frustrations with the intelligence community to the public, briefings "continued as usual" and the then-president's demeanor did not change.
During Trump's second pre-election briefing on Sept. 2, 2016, the former U.S. president assured his briefers that the things he said regarding the intelligence community did not apply to them. Reports also confirmed that Trump had a dissociative style during intelligence briefings as he used a fact-free approach where evidence did not matter to him.
Career CIA analyst, Ted Gistaro, said that Trump did not want to touch or reach anything about evidence. This forced the intelligence community to tailor briefings to his style, reducing the number and the length of articles.