In what may be the most dramatic shake-up at the White House since Mike Flynn resigned in February, moments ago Bloomberg reported that President Trump has reorganized his National Security Council on Wednesday, removing his chief strategist, Stephen Bannon and stripping him of his security clearance as well as downgrading the role of his Homeland Security Adviser, Tom Bossert, according to a person familiar with the decision and a regulatory filing.
As a reminder, back in January, in the first of many unexpected shakeups, Bannon was elevated to a position on the NSC principals committee, a move that was met with widespread surprise and skepticism.
Additionally, the Joint Chiefs chairman and intelligence director are having their roles on the principals committee restored, the report said.
As Bloomberg adds, Susan Rice’s successor, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, was given responsibility for setting the agenda for meetings of the NSC or the Homeland Security Council, and was authorized to delegate that authority to Bossert, at his discretion, according to the filing.
Under the move, the national intelligence director, Dan Coats, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, are again “regular attendees” of the NSC’s principals committee.
Bannon, the former executive chairman of Breitbart News, was elevated to the National Security Council’s principals committee at the beginning of Trump’s presidency. The move drew criticism from some members of Congress and Washington’s foreign policy establishment.
It was not immediately clear if the shake up is indicative of a major split between Trump and his right hand man and chief ideological advisor, or if this is merely a shake up in the context of the ongoing probe involving Russian interference, although considering the relentless media onslaught against Bannon in recent weeks, it is likely the former.
In any case, the most likely outcome of the shake up is that the “Goldman” circle around Trump – which has been feuding with the Bannon camp since day one – is about to get materially more powerful.
The filing showing Bannon’s demotion is below: