President-elect Donald Trump brushed off concerns that he’s not participating in the traditional daily intelligence and national security briefings that presidents hold every day.
In a rare post-election interview that aired Sunday, Trump argued for why he did not need to receive regular classified intelligence briefings on national security and foreign affairs, saying he told intelligence officials to only brief him when a situation the intelligence community is monitoring changes.
“I get it when I need it,” Trump told “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace.
“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,” the president-elect added. “I don’t need that. But I do say, ‘If something should change, let us know.'”
Trump emphasized that Vice President-elect Mike Pence was receiving daily briefings.
“In the meantime, my generals are great — are being briefed. And Mike Pence is being briefed, who is, by the way, one of my very good decisions,” Trump said, referring to his decision to pick Pence as his VP. “They’re being briefed. And I’m being briefed also.”
“But if they’re going to come in and tell me the exact same thing that they tell me — you know, it doesn’t change, necessarily. Now, there will be times where it might change. I mean, there will be some very fluid situations. I’ll be there not every day, but more than that. But I don’t need to be told, Chris, the same thing every day, every morning — same words. ‘Sir, nothing has changed. Let’s go over it again.’ I don’t need that.”
The interview also came days after Trump garnered widespread criticism among national security experts by condemning a Washington Post report which said that the CIA found Russian intelligence agencies meddled in the US election to help the Republican presidential nominee.
Critics argued that the president-elect was attempting to undermine the intelligence community’s credibility.
In Sunday’s interview, Trump refused to acknowledge the report’s credibility, dismissing claims that Russia attempted to help Trump by hacking the emails of top Democrats and selectively leaking them.
“I think it’s ridiculous,” Trump said of the Washington Post report. “I think it’s just another excuse. I don’t believe it. I don’t know why and I think it’s just — you know, they talked about all sorts of things. Every week it’s another excuse.”