World News

Steve Bannon Removed from National Security Council Role — TIME

 

White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon has been removed from his role on the National Security Council in a Trump-approved reshuffle that also diminished the role of the president’s Homeland Security Advisor. A presidential memorandum dated April 4 removes Bannon as a member of the National Security Council’s Principal’s Committee—the premier gathering of the nation’s…

White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon has been removed from his role on the National Security Council in a Trump-approved reshuffle that also diminished the role of the president’s Homeland Security Advisor.

A presidential memorandum dated April 4 removes Bannon as a member of the National Security Council’s Principal’s Committee—the premier gathering of the nation’s foreign policy establishment that is key to producing options for the president on some of the toughest security issues.

It’s the second shakeup in the council since Trump took office in January, and reflects the increasing stature of National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster within the West Wing.

Trump first put Bannon on the principals committee on Jan. 28, drawing widespread concern from bipartisan former national security officials that a political official was being brought into the foreign policy process. That reorganization also appeared to downgrade the status of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence. Amid Establishment outcry, Trump reversed course and restored both positions on the council—and also elevated the Director of Central Intelligence to the committee. But Bannon remained on the council, even after Trump fired former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn amid allegations that he misled the Vice President about the nature of his contacts with the Russian Ambassador to the U.S.

Trump’s first choice to replace Flynn, Robert Harward, reportedly turned down the post amid doubts he would not have control over the NSC. When McMaster was hired, the White House made public assurances that he would control both the staff and the makeup of the National Security Council.

The keeper of Trump’s populist flame, Bannon has been the biggest proponent of Trump’s “America First” foreign policy and has had an outsized role in all areas of the administration.

An administration official said Bannon was first placed on the council as a check on Flynn, and now that he had left the administration he was no longer needed in that role. A second administration official said McMaster was the driving force behind the decision, as he looks to put his mark on the security council. The move includes several other changes, including returning the Secretary of Energy’s seat on the principal’s committee. (The Energy Secretary was previously only a member of the full security council.)

The latest memo also places the Homeland Security Advisor, Tom Bossert, under the National Security Advisor—the structure used by the Obama Administration—rather than a co-equal, as was the case in the Bush Administration.

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