Trump defies norms of the presidency

As a candidate, Donald Trump said he would move in new directions if he became president, and he is following through in a dramatic way, brushing aside many of the norms of the presidency and emphasizing different and unproven ways of conducting the office.

The latest example is his comment that he won't schedule the daily intelligence briefings that President Barack Obama and his predecessors have received for many years. Trump has received a few such briefings as president-elect, but hasn't been impressed, considering the briefings repetitive and of limited value, according to the New York Times. As a result, Trump has passed up the chance to have them regularly since he won the election Nov. 8. He said that as president he would have an intelligence briefing "when I need it."

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"You know, I'm, like, a smart person," he told Fox News in an interview broadcast Sunday. "I don't have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day for the next eight years."

He said he had told the officials who conduct the briefing, "If something should change from this point, immediately call me. I'm available on a one-minute notice."

He said he would assign his vice president Mike Pence to receive the daily intelligence briefing after the two of them take office Jan. 20.

Trump has also broken with past practice by publicly deriding the findings of U.S. intelligence in a high-profile case: the assessment that Russia had intervened in the election to help get him elected by hacking various computer systems, including those of supporters and senior aides of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Both the New York Times and Washington Post have reported that Russia took such covert action to harm Clinton's candidacy and elect Trump, with Russia leaking damaging correspondence involving Clinton.

Trump condemned those reports. "I think it's ridiculous," Trump told Fox. "I think it's just another excuse. I don't believe it....I think the Democrats are putting it out because they suffered one of the greatest defeats in the history of politics in this country."

A spokesman for Trump told the Times that the intelligence agencies are "the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction." This was a reason given by U.S. officials to go to war with Iraq while George W. Bush was president, but no such weapons were found.

Beyond the intelligence issues, Trump has been going his own way in a number of other areas as he prepares for his inauguration.

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He is intervening in the marketplace to prevent U.S. companies from exporting jobs abroad, which violates conservative orthodoxy even as affected workers tend to applaud Trump's interventions.

He is trying to sort out his vast corporate empire to minimize the chances for conflict of interest but resists divesting himself of major assets or placing his assets in a blind trust as other presidents have done.

His aides say he might continue playing a role in "The New Celebrity Apprentice" by serving as executive producer of the TV series that he once hosted. An aide suggested that he could do this in his leisure time, instead of playing golf as President Obama has done. His potential duties as executive producer aren't known.

He is second-guessing plans by the Air Force and the Boeing company to build two new 747 jets that would eventually be used as Air Force One. Trump says the cost appears to be excessive.

He rarely holds news conferences, preferring to write terse remarks on Twitter, which is a form of communication unfiltered by the media.