In recent days, Trump has received a series of briefers who present information as he likes to consume it — in free-flowing conversations, in video presentations and in photographs, maps and charts, as opposed to voluminous reading materials.
The process largely is being overseen by Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and a senior adviser, as well as McMaster and deputy national security adviser Dina Powell.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn and senior policy adviser Stephen Miller have spent time preparing the president, while key lawmakers — including Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and its ranking Democrat, Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (Md.) — have offered input as well, though not directly to Trump.
Trump is soliciting counsel from some outsiders such as Kissinger but has largely kept his circle confined to real-world practitioners and administration insiders — a reflection of the White House’s view that input from academic experts, authors and other thought leaders is less valuable because they have not achieved practical success.