Officials claim Donald Trump received two intelligence briefings since election victory on November 8

November 25, 2016 9:00 am
has received only two intelligence briefings since the November 8 election, even though analysts have been prepared to deliver daily reports, officials said.
This is in stark contrast to Trump’s predecessors, Barack Obama, George Bush and Bill Clinton, who made themselves available for classified updates before taking office, The Washington Post reports.
Trump also hasn’t met with James R. Clapper Jr, Director of National Intelligence, or any other top intelligence officials since he was elected, the newspaper reports.

Donald Trump has received two classified intelligence briefings since his surprise election victory earlier this month. Photo / AP

However vice president-elect Mike Pence has set time aside for briefings almost every day over the last two weeks.
“The president-elect is missing out on a golden opportunity to learn about the national security threats and challenges facing our nation,” former deputy CIA director Michael Morell said, “knowledge that would be extremely valuable to have when he takes the oath of office and when he steps into the Situation Room for the first time.”Top officials are concerned Trump is missing out on key information.

Vice President-elect Mike Pence has reportedly received intelligence briefings almost daily. Photo / AP

But Trump supporters have defended the billionaire businessman, saying he has been busy forming his administration.
“National security is Donald Trump’s No. 1 priority and I think he’s taking it very seriously,” Representative Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a senior member of Trump’s transition team, said.
“Look how many leaders he’s met with, how many phone calls he’s done, positions he’s filled. People who are being critical need to get a life.”
The President’s Daily Brief provides a summary of key security developments, insights from all 16 US intelligence agencies, and updates on covert programs run overseas by the CIA.

Donald Trump has not met with Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. Photo / AP

Greens raise $US3.5m for vote recount

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein has raised $US3.5 million to force recounts of the November 8 election results in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, three states where Trump scored narrow wins, Reuters reports.
The campaign said it exceeded its initial goal for raising $US2.5 million and has enough money to pay Wisconsin’s $US1.1 million filing fee due on Friday.
At the same time, the party said it raised its target to $US4.5 million, with filing deadlines approaching in Pennsylvania on Monday and Michigan on Wednesday.
Trump carried all three states by narrow margins despite public opinion polls pointing to victories by Hillary Clinton, the Democratic standard-bearer.

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein has raised $US3.5 million to force recounts of the November 8 election results in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Photo / AP

“We deserve elections we can trust,” the campaign said, adding that the effort was not intended to help Clinton.
Kellyanne Conway, a senior Trump adviser, suggested that efforts to force recounts were ironic, given harsh criticism of Mr Trump before the election when he would not say whether he would accept the result of what he called a “rigged” political system.
“Look who can’t accept the election results,” Conway said in a Twitter message, pointing to a headline in the New York Times that read “Hillary Clinton Supporters Call for Vote Recount in Battleground States.”

Trump Jr held Syria talks with Russia supporters

Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr, held private discussions in Paris on October 11 that focused in part on finding a way to co-operate with Russia to end the war in Syria, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Trump Jr met with diplomats, business people and politicians at an event hosted by a think tank founded by Fabien Baussart and his Syrian-born wife, Randa Kassis.
The WSJ reports Kassis is a leader of a Kremlin-endorsed Syrian group that seeks a political transition in Syria with the co-operation of President Bashar al-Assad, a close Russian ally.

Donald Trump Jr met held talks about Syria with pro-Russia advocates in Paris last month. Photo / AP

The meeting between Trump Jr and pro-Russia figures raises new questions about the President-elect’s relationship with Russia and other foreign powers, according to the US newspaper.
Kassis later posted about the meeting on Facebook: “Syria’s opposition got hope that political process will move forward and Russia and will reach accord on the issue of the Syrian crisis, because of Trump’s victory.”

Trump delivers Thanksgiving message

Trump shared a message of unity on the eve of the US holiday of thanksgiving. In a video published on the official White House transition team’s YouTube page, he acknowledged the “long and bruising” political season and said he understood that emotional divides don’t heal overnight.
“It’s my prayer that on this thanksgiving, we begin to heal our divisions and move forward as one country, strengthened by shared purpose and very, very common resolve,” Trump said.

The real estate mogul also tweeted on thanksgiving that he was “working hard” for Americans.
“I am working hard, even on thanksgiving, trying to get Carrier A.C. Company to stay in the U.S. (Indiana). MAKING PROGRESS – Will know soon!” he tweeted on Thursday.
Trump is spending the national holiday at his lavish Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.’

Trump plans for Brexit backer

Trump has a plan for making the vaunted relationship between Britain and the US even more special: make Nigel Farage the British ambassador in Washington.
But Prime Minister Theresa May has another idea – leave British appointments to the government, thank you very much. Her representatives quickly shot down Trump’s extraordinarily undiplomatic initiative.

Foreign Minister Boris Johnson and others said there was no way Mr Farage would be chosen – and some in Parliament had a few laughs at the prospect.
Meanwhile, the UK Telegraph reports Mr Farage is planning to visit Washington DC early next month to again meet Trump aides. He also preparing to emigrate to America with his wife Kirsten to escape the public eye.
Farage campaigned heavily for Brits to vote in favour of leaving the EU. After the shock Brexit vote, he resigned as UKIP leader, saying “I want my life back.”

Pro-Brexit British politician Nigel Farage (left) and Donald Trump have a close relationship. Photo / AP

Mexican cement company offers to build wall

A Mexican cement maker has offered to construct Trump’s proposed wall on the southern border of the US.
“We can’t be choosy,” Enrique Escalante, Chief Executive Officer of Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua (GCC) said. “We’re an important producer in that area and we have to respect our clients on both sides of the border.”
In his campaign, Trump vowed to build a “big, beautiful, powerful” wall across the 3200km frontier in order to stop illegal immigrants from Mexico, which he accused of sending rapists and drug traffickers into the US.
The campaign of the New York businessman – who has never previously held public office – was widely reviled in Mexico. Yet Mr Escalante said Trump’s plans to invest in energy and infrastructure in the United States augured well for the firm.
“For the business we’re in, Trump is a candidate that does favour the industry quite a bit,” Escalante said. The company generates around 70 per cent of its sales in the US.

United States-Mexico border wall. Photo / AP

Clinton spotted shopping for Thanksgiving

A New York woman picked up a little something extra while doing her thanksgiving shopping – a photo with Hillary Clinton.
Brittany Valente, 25, was shopping at the Chappaqua Village Market on Wednesday when she bumped into the Democratic presidential candidate and her family.
“They were so relaxed and shopping for thanksgiving dinner at the local village market,”
Valente told NBC New York. “They were so nice talking to everyone, wishing them happy holidays and at one point Hillary said ‘We must stay strong together no matter what. Thank you for your support’.”

US President-elect Donald Trump (Photo by AFP)

US President-elect Donald Trump has been rejecting daily intelligence briefings since his election victory on November 8, officials say.
Despite having a team of analysts and experts ready to brief Trump on a daily basis, the Republican president-elect has so far attended only two sessions, much less than that of his predecessors in the White House, The Washington Post reported Wednesday, citing current and former officials.
Trump received his first post-election briefing within a few days from his victory over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. The second session took place on Tuesday, when Trump met senior US intelligence officials before going to Florida for the Thanksgiving holiday, officials said.
In contrast, Vice President-elect Mike Pence has been getting regular updates on various issues on an almost daily basis, the report added.
Dubbed “The President’s Daily Brief,” the classified report contains a summary of the main developments in the world together with insight from all of the country’s 16 intelligence agencies.
The closely-guarded document also includes covert overseas operations by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
According to the Post, Trump’s transition team does not think the incoming president’s briefing schedule is an issue because he has been spending most of his time choosing officials for his administration, which is currently his top priority.
Trump’s critics, however, think his unwillingness to get intelligence updates is another sign of the president-elect’s indifference to national security issues, which they blame on the New York businessman’s lack of political experience.
Some critics argue that Trump’s campaign rhetoric, where he dismissed the findings of various US intelligence organizations regarding the Syrian conflict and other issues, signaled an early warning about his reluctance to attend briefings.
A current American official, who receives the same intelligence briefings as President Barack Obama, told the Post that Trump should devote more time to such sessions in order to get a grasp of the world affairs.
“Trump has a lot of catching up to do,” the official told the daily.
“His pace is not as frequent as most recent presidents-elect, but it is not unprecedented over the decades-long scope of these briefings,” said David Priess, a former CIA officer and part of former President George W. Bush’s briefing team.
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