CIA Director Mike Pompeo told MSNBC’s Hugh Hewitt that President Donald Trump is “incredibly demanding” of the intelligence community during an interview that aired Saturday morning.
Pompeo said he spends over 40 minutes a day talking to Trump, and that the president is a “serious consumer” of the intelligence community’s product.
“I appreciate that because I think it informs how he thinks about the world,” Pompeo added. The CIA director also drew a distinction between the way Trump and former president Barack Obama consume their intelligence, saying that his predecessor, former CIA director John Brennan, “wasn’t there very often” and that Obama “consumed his intelligence in a different way.”
“President Trump is incredibly demanding of the intelligence community, he asks us incredibly difficult questions,” Pompeo said. “And then counts on myself and other leaders in the [intelligence community] to deliver those answer for him.”
Hewitt touched on previous reports which suggested that Trump is not interested in being briefed in the same way former presidents have been. Pompeo told The Washington Post last month that Trump prefers visuals and “killer graphics” as opposed to denser reading material. “That’s our task, right? To deliver the material in a way that he can best understand the information we’re trying to communicate,” Pompeo told The Post.
In December, Trump also said that he did not require daily intelligence briefings. “You know, I’m, like, a smart person. I don’t have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day for the next eight years. Could be eight years — but eight years. I don’t need that,” he said at the time.
Reuters also reported in May that national security officials strategically place Trump’s name in briefings as often as they can “because he keeps reading if he’s mentioned.”
But Pompeo pushed back heavily against claims that Trump is uninterested in “facts on the ground” and said, “I cannot imagine a statement that is anymore false than the one that would attribute President Trump not being interested in intelligence and facts when it comes to national security.”
“He’s an avid consumer of the products we provide, thinks about them and comes back and asks great questions and then, perhaps most importantly, relies upon that information,” Pompeo said.
Watch the interview below:
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