White House chief strategist Steve Bannon has been removed from the National Security Council in a staff shake-up, this according to a federal filing. This shake up clearly shows in the National Security Presidential Memorandum in the Federal Register, Bannon is off the council. Also Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert has been demoted.
The National security adviser H.R. McMaster is now in charge of setting the agenda for the council meetings. He can delegate that responsibility to Bossert, if he chooses. Bossert took a trip to Iraq this week with Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and one of his top advisers. Trump wrote in the memo:
“The security threats facing the United States in the 21st century transcend international boundaries,”. “Accordingly, the United States Government’s decision-making structures and processes to address these challenges must remain equally adaptive and transformative.”
Originally Bannon’s appointment to the National Security Council was a controversial move in the early days of the Trump administration. Many of Trumps detractors used Steve Bannon to make a case against Trump; saying a controversial alt right leader had been appointed by the president.
Bannon’s removal from the council comes as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coates were reinstated to the National Security Council’s principals committee. Democrats were concerned about Bannon’s appointment to the council because of his past statements in which he compared himself to Vladimir Lenin and advocated for the destruction of the administrative state. Some Democratic lawmakers even introduced a bill to prevent him from being on the council. I’m sure they are celebrating Bannon’s departure today.
Bloomberg reported Bannon was on the council to provide a sort of check on former National Security Adviser retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn. If you remember Michael Flynn was eventually run out of the White House for lying to Vice President Mike Pence about the nature and frequency of his conversations with the Russian ambassador in the lead up to Trump’s inauguration. According to the report, Bannon never attended a meeting of the council and Trump felt he was no longer needed to be on it.
“Susan Rice operationalized the NSC during the last administration,” Bannon told the Wall Street Journal. “I was put on to ensure that it was de-operationalized. General McMaster has returned the NSC to its proper function.”
It doesn’t seem as though many Republicans are too upset over Bannons leave. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., said Wednesday that the removal of White House chief strategist Steve Bannon from the National Security Council was “welcome news,” and noted her past calls to get him off the key advisory panel.
“Steve Bannon’s removal from National Security Council is welcome news. I called for him to write himself out in Jan,” Ros-Lehtinen wrote on Twitter.
We don’t know what this means for the Trump administration, but we do know there is more to this story that is yet to come.