Thursday, April 6, 2017

Corralling The National Security Team After Removing Steve Bannon

Over the President’s Day holiday weekend in February, President Trump met with candidates to replace disgraced National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn at his Mar-A-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fl. 

Four very able men were at the top of the president’s list for the cabinet-level post:  Vice Admiral (Ret.) Robert S. Harward, Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster and former UN Ambassador John Bolton.

Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, an Army veteran who served under McMaster, suggested him to the White House as well as Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis.

McMaster was announced as Trump’s top pick when Harwood turned down the position.  McMaster took over a rattled and demoralized National Security Council apparatus that bristled at Flynn’s leadership and the foreign policy interests of chief strategist Steve Bannon the former Breitbart News Chairman.

On Wednesday, Trump’s National Security Adviser reportedly insisted on purging Bannon from the Situation Room and restored Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats to the NSC and added Energy Secretary Rick Perry who controls the nation’s nuclear weapons arsenal, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley and the Homeland Security Council.

According to a published report by The New York Times Karl Rove, who was a senior adviser to President George W. Bush, said it was a move back to a better process.  “It was wrong for him to be added in the first place and it was right to take him off.”

Addressing Bannon’s public statement that he was “put on the NSC with General Flynn to ensure that it was de-operationalized” Rove added the end result was a victory for General McMaster. “It’s either a sign of McMaster’s strength or the result is it strengthens McMaster.”

But leave it to Chris Cillizza, CNN’s Editor-at-Large, to paint a dire picture of the announcement:
“It's hard not to see the Bannon move in the broader context of Trump's first 75 days in office, which has been, to put it mildly, chaotic. The attempt to overhaul the Affordable Care Act ended before it ever started, an 18-day debacle that showed that Trump's challenges within his own party were far larger than he seemed to believe. He continues to labor under a self-inflicted controversy regarding his unproven allegation that President Obama wiretapped him during the 2016 campaign. The numerous ties between senior campaign aides and Russian intelligence officials—as well as the ongoing Justice Department investigation into these ties—show no signs of being knocked off front pages.”
Apparently Mr. Cillizza insists on keeping his head buried in his ass given the exploding revelations surrounding Susan Rice’s unmasking of the identities of individuals in intelligence reports associated with President Trump and growing calls for her to testify under oath about her unprecedented violation and abuse of power.

It was his cable network that on Monday night instructed its viewers to ignore the Rice story like its viewers ignores CNN.

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