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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Before meetings and calls with world leaders, President Trump receives briefings of only "about two minutes... and sometimes that gets cut by a bit," a recently departed White House official said today.

What they're saying: Fernando Cutz, who left the White House in April and served on the National Security Councils of both Trump and Barack Obama, said Obama would read detailed pre-briefs — highlighting key passages and scribbling notes in the margins — before an oral briefing ahead of such meeting. Not so for President Trump.

  • “If it was a 4-page briefing, we’d start at page 5 because you knew he’d read and digested everything in there," Cutz said of Obama.
  • With Trump, “we were given about 2 minutes to brief him before a visit. Sometimes that gets cut by a bit.”

Does that result in him saying things his team would rather he didn't? “All the time.” Cutz described Trump as "the most transparent president in history," though, because he says the same exact things in the room with leaders as he says in public.

Go deeper

Biden explains justification for Syria strike in letter to Congress

Photo: Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden told congressional leadership in a letter Saturday that this week's airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to Iranian-backed militia groups was consistent with the U.S. right to self-defense.

Why it matters: Some Democrats, including Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), have criticized the Biden administration for the strike and demanded a briefing.

6 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes Johnson & Johnson's one-shot COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

Photo: Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday issued an emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson's one-shot coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: The authorization of a third coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. will help speed up the vaccine rollout across the country, especially since the J&J shot only requires one dose as opposed to Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech's two-shot vaccines.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios