The White House has insisted that the information was neither verified nor credible, and said it came to Trump because there was no consensus within the intelligence community on its veracity.
Trump is not known to read the PDB completely or regularly, something that is well known within the White House. Instead, his intelligence officials brief him orally two or three times a week.
Without confirming whether the information was included in the written document, something she said she would never "sit here and confirm or deny," press secretary Kayleigh McEnany insisted that Trump does read.
"The president reads and also consumes intelligence verbally," he said when asked why Trump is not reading the PDB.
"This president, I will tell you, is the most knowledgeable person on planet Earth when it comes to the threats we face," added McEnany, noting the regular phone calls between Trump and his national security adviser Robert O & # 39; Brien. "He is constantly informed and informed about intelligence matters. But I am not going to allow The New York Times to dictate when we give secret information and we do not give secret information."
Tuesday's briefing was the latest attempt to deflect questions from intelligence, and Trump's apparent lack of response, and into leaks that allowed the information to come to light. The White House has defended Trump's handling of the matter, but has not said how it could punish Russia if the information is determined to be true.
After briefing Republican and Democratic lawmakers on the matter this week, McEnany said Trump had also been updated. She had refused to make that announcement a day earlier.
"The president has been briefed on what is unfortunately in the public domain," McEnany said. "You have been informed, but that does not change the fact that there is no consensus on this intelligence that has not yet been verified."
"The idea that he somehow didn't know or isn't being informed is a breach of duty if that's the case," the former vice president said during an event at a high school in Wilmington, Delaware. "If he was informed and nothing was done about it, it is a breach of duty."
Despite McEnany's claims, several officials have told CNN that Trump is not an avid consumer of the PDB, the highly classified written document prepared before dawn by intelligence analysts that is intended to provide the commander-in-chief with an update on world problems.
Even after intelligence analysts added more photos and graphics to appeal to Trump's learning style, the document was often unread, according to people familiar with the matter.
Instead, Trump prefers an oral briefing several times a week. But even in those sessions, participants described the President as occasionally distracted by what bothers him that day, which often includes a negative segment of cable news or a newspaper article, causing his intelligence reports to be derailed.
A former top administration official who was part of the team that delivered Trump's intelligence reports said the president generally relies on a graphic summary of current threats accompanied by an oral briefing, rather than reading material compiled by national security assistants.
"He processes things by discussing them," said the official. "So the PDB presentation has been tailored to that. The informants will always want to communicate the key points. But it drives the discussion how it wants."
The official said Trump often complained about the information presented to him at the briefings, preferring to have possible solutions to the national security threats offered to him rather than just the problems.
"Normally he is frustrated with intelligence because he shows a problem but does not provide an answer," the official said.