The briefing is the first in what could be several classified briefings Trump will receive
Top Democrats have argued that Trump would not responsibly handle the sensitive information
Donald Trump received his first classified national security briefing Wednesday in New York, two sources told CNN.
The briefing, prepared by the director of national intelligence, is the first in what could be several classified briefings Trump will receive as the Republican nominee for president. Trump has never before had access to classified national security information.
The Trump campaign did not respond to multiple requests for comment. News of the briefing was first reported by ABC News.
The nominees of the two major parties have received classified intelligence briefings from top government officials for more than 60 years, a decision aimed at facilitating a smooth transition from candidate to commander in chief.
Both Trump and Hillary Clinton, a former secretary of state, were slated to receive classified briefings after the two parties’ national nominating conventions.
But top figures in both parties have called on the government to not give classified briefings to the rival party’s nominee.
Senior Democrats – including Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid – have argued that Trump would not responsibly handle the sensitive information, attacking the Republican nominee for comments they deem reckless, such as his seeming to encourage Russia to hack Clinton’s emails.
“How would the CIA and the other intelligence agencies brief this guy? How could they do that? I would suggest to the intelligence agencies, if you’re forced to brief this guy, don’t tell him anything, just fake it, because this man is dangerous,” Reid told The Huffington Post last month. “Fake it, pretend you’re doing a briefing, but you can’t give the guy any information.”
On the Republican side, House Speaker Paul Ryan called on James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, to deny Clinton a classified briefing due to her mishandling of classified information during her time as secretary of state, when she used a private email server.
Clapper denied Ryan’s request and signaled that neither Clinton nor Trump would be denied briefings.
“Nominees for president and vice president receive these briefings by virtue of their status as candidates and do not require separate security clearances before the briefings,” Clapper wrote in a July letter to Ryan obtained by CNN. “Briefings for the candidates will be provided on an even-handed non-partisan basis.”