On Friday morning, The Post reported that President Trump has broken with past presidential practice, choosing to receive the daily intelligence briefing orally, instead of the full written report, as past president have.
“The arrangement underscores Trump’s impatience with exhaustive classified documents that go to the commander in chief — material that he has said he prefers condensed as much as possible,” our Carol D. Leonnig, Shane Harris and Greg Jaffe write. “But by not reading the daily briefing, the president could hamper his ability to respond to crises in the most effective manner, intelligence experts warned.”
What’s more, time set aside on Trump’s public schedule for the president to receive the daily briefing has waned over the course of the year, even as the time of those briefings slipped later into the morning. Last February, his first full month in office, Trump had 11 scheduled briefings that began, on average, at a bit past 9:30 a.m. The next month he had 18 briefings, starting a bit past 10:45 a.m. on average.
Last month, he had nine scheduled briefings that began at 11 a.m.
There have been only three weeks during which he had scheduled daily briefings on five days of the week. The most recent was the week of Sep. 25, 2017. There have been nine weeks during which he’s had no scheduled briefings, often but not always coinciding with overseas travel.
The most common day on which Trump receives a briefing is Wednesday; on 60 percent of his Wednesdays as president, he’s received a briefing. He’s also received one on 51 percent of the Tuesdays he’s been in office. The least common day for a briefing is Friday. On only 38 percent of his Fridays has he had a scheduled daily briefing.
It’s not clear that he’s actually briefed for an extended period during that scheduled time. On 19 occasions, there have been tweets sent from his personal account within an hour of the scheduled briefing getting underway. On 11 occasions, there’s been a tweet within half an hour of his briefing getting underway.
It happened three times this week, in fact. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted twice right as his briefing was supposed to be getting underway.
It’s not clear if those tweets were sent by Trump or by staff. But the next day, he left little doubt, apparently tweeting about something he’d seen on “Fox and Friends” 10 minutes after his briefing was supposed to have begun.
Below is a chart of all of the times that Trump was scheduled to receive his presidential daily briefing as president, with indicators for start time, foreign travel and visits to his own properties.
It’s worth comparing that chart to one we made late last year, showing how often we knew that Trump was tuning in to “Fox and Friends” in the morning, during what’s come to be called “executive time” — unscheduled time that Trump often uses to watch television and tweet.
That chart only goes through November 29. It’s also likely incomplete.
It’s not a stretch to think that Trump may spend more time getting information from Fox News’ morning hosts than during scheduled time for his daily briefings.