Changes to the National Security Council

Posted August 06, 2017

As for rumors that Trump is considering shifting CIA Director Mike Pompeo to national security adviser and sending McMaster to command USA forces in Afghanistan, Waltz said McMaster would do a great job, but he wants to see him stay in his current position.

"There is a split in the White House between the Bannon camp of ideologues and the McMaster-Mattis-Tillerson camp of more centrist intellectuals", Pete Mansoor, a retired Army colonel who worked closely with McMaster, told Politico.

But Circa first reported Thursday that McMaster sent a letter giving Rice access to classified material, weeks after her alleged role was disclosed in "unmasking" identities of Trump associates in intelligence reports. But given the rampant speculation about even McMaster's own status - President Donald Trump is said to be considering sending him to Afghanistan to command US-led forces there - few were mollified.

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In an interview with MSNBC's Hugh Hewitt, Mr McMaster said Mr Trump has been "deeply briefed" on the strategy on North Korea. Trump wants to deal with the China issue, McMaster doesn't. Then again, the only tweets about the national security adviser that really matter are Donald Trump's. In early August, McMaster pushed out Ezra Cohen-Watnick, whom Flynn had hired for the NSC and McMaster had tried to fire earlier in the year (he was blocked by Bannon and others from doing so).

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 is now involved in a power struggle within the Trump administration, facing off against the far-right wing headed by senior adviser Steve Bannon, who is attempting to bring about McMaster's resignation.

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For the time being though, McMaster's position seems safe, with a senior White House official telling the New York Times Friday that the president has "total confidence" in his national security adviser.

His dismissal follows other recent changes at the NSC. So it is that "McMaster Leaks" includes "facts" such as: "McMaster fired Rich Higgins for writing a memo criticizing Islamic terrorism". "They're taking out people who were chosen to best implement the president's policy that he articulated during the campaign". Trump added that McMaster is "a good man and very pro-Israel".

Following the departure from the Trump administration of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, and Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci, the betting game began.

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Some say McMaster's "purge" is part of a larger conflict in the White House between those committed to "draining the swamp,"' and "bureaucratic interests" trying to maintain establishment control over policy.