Changes to the National Security Council

Kristopher Drake
August 6, 2017

Amid a campaign against him from sections of the right wing media, president Trump on Friday re-affirmed his confidence in three star lieutenant general and national security adviser HR McMaster.

"Very few people know who's going to get axed next, but if you're viewed as a Flynnstone it's a liability", said a person close to the White House, referring to staffers hired by McMaster's predecessor, retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.

The officials also noted that during US President Donald Trump's recent trip to Israel, McMaster's held a lengthy meeting with Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, and highlighted his regular contacts with Defense Ministry officials.

In an interview with MSNBC's Hugh Hewitt, Mr McMaster said Mr Trump has been "deeply briefed" on the strategy on North Korea.

But the fact he sent the letter to Rice - given the controversy surrounding her and the "unmasking" of members of the Trump campaign, transition and administration in intelligence documents - was not viewed favorably by members of the administration who aren't particular fans of McMaster.

Within days of the recertification, it was reported that Trump had authorized the establishment of a rival group within the White House, led by Bannon, that would seek a path out of the deal.

And last week, Derek Harvey, a top Middle East adviser who served as special assistant to the president and senior director for the Middle East on the National Security Council, was also relieved of his duties.

Although Trump earlier this year gave Mattis the authority to deploy USA military forces as he sees fit, in fact the defense secretary's plans to add around 4,000 more US troops to the 8,400 now deployed in Afghanistan are being caught up in the delay surrounding the strategy, the officials said. McMaster tried to fire Cohen-Watnick earlier this year but was stymied by Bannon and Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who came to his defense.

Speaking to The New York Times, he called General McMaster "a true public servant and a tremendous asset".

It was revealed on Wednesday in news reports that Rich Higgins, who served as director for strategic planning at the NSC, was sacked July 21.

His dismissal follows other recent changes at the NSC. Trump wants to deal with the Islam issue - McMaster doesn't. "He is a good man and very pro-Israel", Trump said in a statement Friday night.

Even as the White House appeared overcome by the resignations of two communications directors and a chief of staff in rapid succession, McMaster has carried out his months-long quest to clear Flynn's baggage. Then again, the only tweets about the national security adviser that really matter are Donald Trump's. The White House has said no decision has been made.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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