President Trump’s top briefing team has had to learn to work to avoid agitating the irascible commander in chief when it comes to developments involving Russia because of his sensitivity to allegations of Moscow’s collusion with his campaign, The Washington Post reports. Intelligence officials have had to work around matters involving Russia when briefing him, sometimes leaving him out of the loop, in some cases to preserve peace in the high-level security meetings, current and former officials reportedly told the Post. As a result, the president’s daily intelligence update (or PDB) is specifically structured to avoid upsetting him. “If you talk about Russia, meddling, interference—that takes the PDB off the rails,” a former senior U.S. intelligence official told the Post. Advisers have even adopted a rule called “don’t walk that last 5½ feet”—meaning that aides are told to avoid entering the Oval Office, and giving the president a chance to erupt, when an issue can be instead resolved by someone else. Separately, the Post reports Trump’s ears perked up during an FBI presentation about the two Russian compounds seized by the U.S. in 2016, as he was said to be interested in the real-estate potential from selling the sites.
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