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Steve Bannon ousted from National Security Council

The move was unexpected.


David Covucci


White House chief strategist Steve Bannon has been removed from the National Security Council (NSC), marking the first high-profile shakeup in the Trump administration.

A presidential memorandum shows he is no longer a regular attendee of the principals committee. President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, reportedly made the call to remove Bannon, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Two officials whose positions on the NSC were downgraded when Bannon was appointed, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, have been reinstated.

Given the political nature of his position on Trump’s team, Bannon’s appointment to the NSC raised eyebrows. Typically, political appointees that do not go through Senate confirmation do not have a role on the council. It is unclear what factors contributed to McMaster removing Bannon.

A White House source told Bloomberg that Bannon never attended an NSC meeting. According to NBC, Bannon attended one meeting and decided to leave the council after McMaster came in to replace retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who Trump forced to resign after the Washington Post revealed that he lied about his conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the United States.

An unnamed official told the Washington Post that Bannon’s removal was not a demotion or reaction to political backlash, and that Bannon was only instated on the council to supervise Flynn as he tried to reshape its role following the Obama era. With Flynn no longer onboard, Bannon felt he was no longer need, the official claimed.

In a statement to WSJ, Bannon said his roll was to undo the “operationalized” nature of the NSC put in place by Susan Rice, who served as national security adviser under the Obama administration.

“Susan Rice operationalized the NSC during the last administration,” Bannon said. “I was put on to ensure that it was de-operationalized. General McMaster has returned the NSC to its proper function.”

H/T NBC News

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