Intelligence agencies have hired outside consultants to improve communication with Trump: report

Source: The Hill | May 21, 2020 | J. Edward Moreno

U.S. intelligence agencies have hired outside consultants to study how to better communicate information to President Trump in briefings after several instances where he has misspoken or forgotten key information, according to a Thursday report from The New York Times.

Maintaining Trump’s attention during briefings burned out his first briefer, Deputy Director of National Intelligence Edward Gistaro, officials told the Times. Gistaro was eventually replaced with current briefer Beth Sanner, a CIA analyst.

Intelligence officials told the Times that Trump becomes irritable when intelligence officials present information he doesn’t agree with or correct falsehoods he says publicly or privately.

Once he is irate, it is reportedly difficult for him to retain information. During the investigation into Russia’s 2016 election meddling, any mention of the country could upset him and disrupt the briefing. 

“There was some venting, which at times made me a little bit frustrated,” Dan Coats, the former director of national intelligence, told congressional investigators in 2017. “I thought it was taking away from him getting the intelligence he needed.”

Sanner has adopted a new form of briefing the president that involves a more relaxed, conversational approach, sources told the Times. 

Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell told the Times, however, that the notion that Trump is difficult to brief is “flat wrong.”

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