CIA Director Mike Pompeo complimented President Donald Trump’s ability to understand intelligence briefings Tuesday, saying the president’s grasp of the information is similar to that of a 25-year agency veteran.
“I have seen 25-year intelligence professionals receive briefings. I would tell you that President Trump is the kind of recipient of our information at the same level that they are,” Pompeo told Marc A. Thiessen during a Q&A session with the American Enterprise Institute.
Pompeo also said the president asks “hard questions” during his briefings that allow him to lead the conversation on important policy issues.
“He has the grounding for him to be able to grasp this information in a way that he can ask sophisticated questions that then lead to important policy discussions,” Pompeo said.
Questions about the president’s ability to absorb information first arose last year when National Security Council officials told reporters they used Trump’s name in “as many paragraphs as we can because he keeps reading if he’s mentioned” and that they used visuals aids to help keep the president engaged.
In December, these questions came back to the forefront when senior intelligence officials told The Washington Post it was commonplace for the president’s briefing, sometimes called the PDB, to be arranged in a way that would not upset him.
“If you talk about Russia, meddling, interference — that takes the PDB off the rails,” one of the agents told the Post.
Just over a year into his presidency, President Trump continues to deny allegations that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election and supported his run for the White House.