U.S. intelligence officials preparing to brief President Trump ahead of his summit with Kim Jong-un are concerned about the fact that he is “known to have little patience for detailed briefings or lengthy documents” and might “act purely on gut instinct, as he often does with foreign leaders,” according to Reuters. Because of this, they plan to limit their presentation to Trump to an “abridged version, accompanied by photos, maps, drawings and video.” In the past, they’ve apparently also found that it helps if Trump has something he can get his hands on:
Early in his administration, Trump was shown a scale model of North Korea’s sprawling nuclear bomb test site with a removable mountaintop and a miniature Statue of Liberty inside so he could grasp the size of the facility, two U.S. officials said.
A White House official declined comment on the episode.
The commander in chief’s attention span and Zoolander jokes aside, it’s encouraging that officials are working to get Trump up to speed and that they’ve concluded that Kim is a “rational actor” rather than a “total nut job” as Trump once described him (though calling him “very honorable” as Trump did this week might be going a bit far). Intelligence officials are reportedly drawing on impressions gathered by Mike Pompeo, who met Kim a few weeks ago, as well as a handful of others including Dennis Rodman.
Building a profile of Kim is certainly difficult given the level of secrecy and paranoia that surrounds the North Korean leader. The Washington Post reports that this extends to traveling with his own restroom. As a defected North Korean official tells the paper, “The leader’s excretions contain information about his health status so they can’t be left behind.”