President-elect Joe Biden said Tuesday that he will begin receiving the President’s Daily Brief — a return to routine for a country that, for four years, has been run by a president who has refused to listen to intelligence officials.
Biden told reporters that he has been offered a regular intelligence briefing known as the President’s Daily Brief. While he had not received the briefing on Tuesday, he said “we’re going to do it on a regular basis.”
The briefings are a result of General Services Administration head Emily Murphy finally ascertaining Biden’s election victory on Monday. Now GSA can release millions of dollars in transition funds, as well as access to government officials and essential information and briefings.
This week, Biden announced his plan to nominate Avril Haines for the position of director of national intelligence. Haines, who was the deputy director of the CIA and the deputy national security adviser to President Barack Obama, is the first woman in the nation’s history appointed to lead the intelligence community.
“To our intelligence professionals, the work you do — oftentimes under the most austere conditions imaginable — is indispensable,” Haines said in a speech on Tuesday. “It will become even more complex because you will be critical to helping this administration position itself not only against threats such as cyber attacks, terrorism and the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons; but also those challenges that will define the next generation, from climate change, to pandemics and corruption.”
Trump has apparently gone through most of his presidency without reading the President’s Daily Brief — a stark example of how he has viewed his presidential duties. He almost completely eliminated intelligence briefings from his schedule, rarely gets to the West Wing by noon, and typically spends his morning watching cable news and tweeting.
Trump’s interest in receiving any kind of intelligence briefing steadily declined after his first months in office, dropping to near zero as of August, according to a HuffPost review of his daily schedules. Trump’s high of 4.1 briefings per week in March 2017 dropped to 0.7 per week starting in July 2020, soon after it became public that he had ignored intelligence reports about Russia offering bounties to the Taliban for each American soldier killed in Afghanistan.
Even as experts grew increasingly alarmed about a pandemic threat this January, Trump remained unconcerned, partaking in zero scheduled intelligence briefings before Jan. 6 and only nine the entire month, according to the HuffPost review.
The President’s Daily Brief is based on a package of summaries from around the world prepared early each morning for the president. Taxpayers spend tens of billions of dollars each year so that officials from the intelligence community can provide a daily details report. The briefings are among the few responsibilities a president cannot delegate to others.
Both of Trump’s immediate predecessors received daily briefings in the White House. Republican George W. Bush received his briefings soon after arriving in the Oval Office early each morning. Democrat Barack Obama would load the daily briefing onto his iPad early each morning and would read it before the in-person session later in the day.
Biden is expected to treat his intelligence briefings with the same level of seriousness.