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Trump Removes Steve Bannon From National Security Council

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Trump Removes Steve Bannon From National Security Council

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump removed his chief strategist Steve Bannon from the National Security Council on Wednesday, reversing his controversial decision early this year to give a political adviser an unprecedented role in security discussions.

Trump’s overhaul of the NSC, confirmed by a White House official, also elevated General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Dan Coats, the director of National Intelligence who heads all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies. The official said the change moves the NSC “back to its core function of what it’s supposed to do.”

It also appears to mark a victory for national security adviser H.R. McMaster, who had told some national security experts he felt he was in a “battle to the death” with Bannon and others on the White House staff.

Vice President Mike Pence said Bannon would continue to play an important role in policy and played down the shake-up as routine.

“This is just a natural evolution to ensure the National Security Council is organized in a way that best serves the president in resolving and making those difficult decisions,” Pence said on Fox News.

Trump’s White House team has grappled with infighting and intrigue that has hobbled his young presidency. In recent days, several other senior U.S. foreign policy and national security officials have said the mechanisms for shaping the Trump administration’s response to pressing challenges such as Syria, North Korea and Iran still were not in place.

Critics of Bannon’s role on the NSC said it gave too much weight in decision-making to someone who lacked foreign policy expertise.

Bannon, who was chief executive of Trump’s presidential campaign in the months leading to his election in November, in some respects represents Trump’s “America First” nationalistic voice, helping fuel his anti-Washington fervor and pushing for the president to part ways at times with mainstream Republicans.

Before joining the Trump administration, Bannon headed Breitbart News, a right-wing website.

U.S. Representative Adam Schiff, ranking Democrat on the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, called the shift in the NSC a positive step that will help McMaster “gain control over a body that was being politicized by Bannon’s involvement.”

“As the administration’s policy over North Korea, China, Russia and Syria continues to drift, we can only hope this shake-up brings some level of strategic vision to the body,” he said.

Bannon’s removal from the NSC was a potential setback for his sphere of influence in the Trump White House, where he has a voice in most major decisions.

But a Trump confidant said Bannon remained as influential as ever.

“He is still involved in everything and still has the full confidence of the president but to be fair he can only do so much stuff,” the confidant said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The White House official said Bannon was no longer needed on the NSC after the departure of Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

Flynn was forced to resign on Feb. 13 over his contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Sergei Kislyak, prior to Trump’s taking office on Jan. 20.

The official said Bannon had been placed on the NSC originally as a check on Flynn and had only attended one of the NSC’s regular meetings.

The official dismissed questions about a power struggle between Bannon and McMaster, saying they shared the same world view.

However, two current national security officials rejected the White House explanation, noting that two months have passed since Flynn’s departure.

McMaster, they said, speaking on the condition of anonymity, also has dueled with Bannon and others over direct access to Trump; the future of deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland, a former Fox News commentator; intelligence director Ezra Cohen-Watnick, a Flynn appointee; and other staffing decisions.

Trump is preparing for his first face-to-face meeting on Thursday and Friday with Chinese President Xi Jinping with the threat of North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs a key component of their talks.

Bannon’s seat on the NSC’s “principals’ committee,” a group that includes the secretaries of state, defense and other ranking aides, was taken by Rick Perry, who as energy secretary is charged with overseeing the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal.

(Additional reporting by Ayesha Rascoe and Roberta Rampton; Editing by Tom Brown and Bill Trott)

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24 Comments

  1. Sand_Cat April 6, 2017

    A drop in the bucket, just one of many idiot zealots slightly demoted. And Trump only removed him from the head committee. He can still go and shoot off his big mouth with the lies and delusions that fill his head at NSC meetings.

    Reply
    1. Mama Bear April 6, 2017

      I just hate it when you talk reality 🙂

    2. Jmz Nesky April 21, 2017

      Well, realistically, Bannon has so much on trump that he alone could destroy his fanatical reality and put him away for the few years he has left on this planet so keeping him on a string is trump’s ideal of keeping his gob shut. He’s stupid, insane and full of himself but to save his own ass he’s not a complete blithering idiot.

  2. stcroixcarp April 6, 2017

    Rick Perry? Doesn’t trump know any republicans with IQs higher than 60 who could serve on the NSC?

    Reply
    1. Mama Bear April 6, 2017

      don’t forget his philosophy is to always surround himself with people less intelligent than he is – I’m afraid there is an endless supply of those in the Republican Party.

    2. Jmz Nesky April 21, 2017

      unfortunately there are none who have the spotlight and for those who do, they keep locked up in quiet rooms.

  3. bobnstuff April 6, 2017

    Trump didn’t like having Bannon being called President Bannon. Maybe we can calling his son in law President Kushner.

    Reply
    1. Eleanore Whitaker April 6, 2017

      Slam dunk! And you get the Trump Reality TV episode prize of the week. The word from some insiders leaving the lavish fantasyland at Trump Tower is precisely what you posted.

      The White House is like a pyscho ward full of creepy neurotics scared silly of the big mouth in chief.

      1. bobnstuff April 6, 2017

        Trump is producing his own reality TV show called President Trump. Lets just hope it’s cancelled before he does to much damage.

        1. Eleanore Whitaker April 6, 2017

          If you get the chance, read Matt Taibbi’s article in Rolling Stone’s April issue on Trump. He nails it.

          By the time you finished the article, you need to take a tranquilizer because Taibbi has so acutely framed what is happening and why with Trump.

  4. TZToronto April 6, 2017

    I think the goal of the Trump administration is to make progressives so sick of the whole thing that they just give up and go away. I’m part way there already. Trump voters will continue to be intrigued by this mess because they see it as another reality show.

    Reply
    1. yabbed April 6, 2017

      The entire kit and caboodle of the TrumpTreacheryTeam is going down so it doesn’t matter all that much who is the president at any given moment, be it Bannon or Kushner or Pence. They are just marking time until the FBI and the intelligence agencies are ready to present their case.

      1. TZToronto April 6, 2017

        I’m hoping that the FBI finds collusion not only among those people we know about but also some we haven’t even heard of. Let the evidence show that the Russian mess could not have happened without Putin’s direction and Trump’s approval. And let the chips fall where they may.

      2. Independent1 April 6, 2017

        Let’s certainly hope that’s the case; and it happens before Trump does something disastrous for America.

        From articles I’ve read, Trump’s committed enough already known felonies that if the FBI just pursued some of those, they could send Trump up the river for the rest of his natural life – from tax fraud, to elections fraud, to rape of a minor, to deliberately setting up a fake charity to fund his own greed. to intentionally defrauding investors, to illegally dealing abroad by violating international sanctions on foreign countries, and on and on.

        1. InformedVoter April 15, 2017

          I see you’re still spewing your lies. The rape of a minor is a joke. She admitted that Soros paid her make the claim. And you keep bringing it up, how dumb of you!
          Election fraud, nope. In fact, they’ve uncovered lots of voter fraud for HilLIARy and none for President Trump.
          Now that President Trump has suggested an investigation into influence peddling from HilLIARy, the investigation will turn on her. She is more likely to get swamped than President Trump. Why, because with all the searching, they have found nothing to suggest any collusion between President Trump and the Russians.
          But you just keep repeating your lies like the auto bailout making millions profit or that President Trump didn’t actually save 6000 union jobs.
          Just keep believing the same FAKE MSM that told you HilLIARy would win the election in landslide proportions. How did that work out for you?
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ut0TaegQ-kw

  5. Eleanore Whitaker April 6, 2017

    Uh-oh…Trump is spanking Bannon? How very corporate power play of him! rofl. So let’s see now..Why oh why is Trump removing Bannon from the NSC? Well, perhaps The Hump in Chief is so pathologically, neurotic over the stories of Bannon’s power that Mr. Hump in Chief is doing that fine old CEO spank spank known as “taking the boy down a few pegs.” Only in rank of course.

    Poor lil Stevie. All that hard work he put into the Hump in Chief’s campaign propaganda and election rigging. But wait…Act 2 of the Hump in Chief’s version of Julius Caesar wherein Marcus Junious Brutus, (Stevie’s role) proves to be his worst enemy.

    Two little whispers into Daddy Dearest’s ears, and Iskanka earns the “Most Powerful” role pushing Stevie to the back burner.

    Don’t expect government coming from The Hump in Chief. All you’ll get a serial Survival TV show with lousy ratings folks. roflmao

    Reply
    1. bobnstuff April 6, 2017

      Who will play the Casca roll in this version? I can’t wait for Act III

  6. church bennington April 6, 2017

    ““This is just a natural evolution to ensure the National Security Council is organized in a way that best serves the president in resolving and making those difficult decisions,” Pence said on Fox News.” I thought the word evolution was banned in republivocabulary.

    Reply
    1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth April 6, 2017

      I’m encouraged to see someone else picked up on Pence’s use of “evolution”. The GOP favors “devolution”, followed by “Stasis”(mental variety).

  7. Aaron_of_Portsmouth April 6, 2017

    Only an unadulterated dullard would have a major brain fart to have chosen Bannon in the first place, to be any place within a mile of the WH.
    And dear old Pence used a euphemism with an heretical word to describe Bannon’s well-earned demotion, by citing “…this is just a natural evolution to ensure the National Security Council is organized in a way that best serves the president in resolving and making those difficult decisions,” Pence said on Fox News.”
    My first thought reading that line was how incongruous for a conservative to have the courage to use the word “evolution” in a remark. Just the mere mention of it strikes fear in the minds of the average right-winger—why, it’s sheer blasphemy. And naturally, Pence, the dutiful sycophant that he is, would choose that bastion of truth, FOX, to give his impressions.

    Reply
    1. Jmz Nesky April 21, 2017

      That’s because Fox doesn’t ask hard questions or refute the answers they receive.. As all other news sources are deemed ‘Fake News’ the truth is they ask these questions that the administration doesn’t like and going to Breitbart is nothing less than a rag so Fox is trump’s gangs go to source while the orange pilon soaks up twitter.

  8. johninPCFL April 6, 2017

    Two factors probably had huge influence: “President Bannon” irked Agent Orange, and co-president Kushner didn’t like him.

    Now that 45 has retired from the office to Florida, maybe Pence will take the office over from the kids?

    Reply
  9. yabbed April 6, 2017

    They say it was the Jared Kushner who push Bannon out. The TrumpGrifterClan sees the Family as president, not DoofusDonald. They just let him play golf and fly around on taxpayer expense while they milk the country for every red cent they can finger.

    Reply
  10. Independent1 April 6, 2017

    “Bannon’s seat on the NSC’s “principals’ committee,” a group that includes the secretaries of state, defense and other ranking aides, was taken by Rick Perry, who as energy secretary is charged with overseeing the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal.”

    Am I the only one blogging here who feels a little nervous with a guy like Rick Perry in charge of America’s nuclear weapons arsenal?? Rick Perry just weeks ago not only didn’t have a clue what the energy department did, even now he doesn’t have a clue as to what it really means to ‘oversee America’s nuclear arsenal’. Rick spent several terms as governor of Texas and was a major factor in why Texas today ranks in the worst 10 states in America in 100% of 23 subjective socio,/economic and other factors used to compare states.

    Trump’s total unfitness for the job of president can be seen in his appointing totally unqualified people like Rick Perry to the Energy Dept, and Betsy DeVos to Education and Ben Carson to HUD – all clueless Republicans with absolutely no experience to support their nominations.

    Reply

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