Trump stopped receiving presidential intelligence briefings after the Capitol riot, new book says

Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Des Moines, Iowa
Former President Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a rally at the Iowa State Fairgrounds on October 09, 2021 in Des Moines, Iowa. Scott Olson/Getty Images
  • Trump stopped receiving presidential intel briefings after the Capitol riot, a new book says.
  • Trump told one of his briefers he would see her after the holidays, but “none were scheduled after the attack on the Capitol,” the book says.
  • Trump was “suspicious and insecure about the intelligence process, prior to and during his presidency,” it added.

In his final weeks as president, Donald Trump stopped receiving the presidential briefing by intelligence officers. The briefings ended after the January 6 riot at the US Capitol, according to a book written by a former CIA officer and recently published by the agency’s Center for the Study of Intelligence.

The latest edition of the history book “Gettting to Know The President,” 1952-2016, written by John Helgerson and first published in 1996, offers a look into the presidential intelligence briefings given to Trump, a US leader Helgerson described as “suspicious and insecure about the intelligence process.”

Trump received the PDB about twice a week, and “after the 2020 election, PDB briefings also continued for a period of time,” Helgerson wrote, citing an interview former presidential briefer Beth Sanner.

“When Sanner briefed the president before he went to Mar-a-Lago for the holidays, he commented that he would see her later,” Helgerson, formerly the CIA inspector general, wrote. “The briefings were to resume on 6 January but none were scheduled after the attack on the Capitol.”

The insurrection sent shockwaves through the world as people watched throngs of pro-Trump rioters storm the Capitol building in a failed effort to block Congress from certifying President-Elect Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election.

Shortly before the riot at the Capitol, Trump held a widely advertised rally near the White House, where he urged his supporters to “fight like hell,” saying that if they didn’t fight, “you’re not going to have a country.” His then-defense attorney Rudy Giuliani, a key amplifier of election-related conspiracy theories, also made an appearance at the rally and called for a “trial by combat” as Trump supporters cheered him on.

Five people died directly before, during, or after the rally, and at least four police officers who defended the Capitol have died by suicide since then.

Trump was impeached for the second time after the riots and charged with inciting an insurrection. It was the most bipartisan impeachment vote in US history, with ten House Republicans siding with their Democratic colleagues. Trump was ultimately acquitted by the Senate, but seven Republicans broke ranks to vote with Democrats to convict Trump.

Some Republicans in Congress, including Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, cited the fact that Trump was out of office — and therefore could not be removed — as their reason for voting to acquit.

A spokesperson for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The briefings have long served as a way for the intelligence community to keep the president and his top aides informed of the critical intelligence gathered by way of global spy networks operated by the US and its allies linked to American interests around the world.

Prior to Biden’s inauguration in late January, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California, said that Trump should no longer have access to classified information, adding that “there is no circumstance in which this president should get another intelligence briefing, not now and not in the future.”

After Biden took office, he made the decision to bar Trump from receiving the intelligence briefings often provided to former presidents, citing his “erratic behavior” unrelated to the events at the Capitol. He had previously expressed concern about the possible mishandling of information.