Steve Bannon dropped from NSC principals

Cheryl Sanders
April 6, 2017

Steve Bannon, U.S. President Donald Trump's chief strategist, has lost his seat on the powerful National Security Council in a high-level White House shakeup.

The White House bridled in January at criticism of the Bannon move, pointing out that President Barack Obama's former adviser, David Axelrod, regularly attended NSC meetings.

The original makeup of the Security Council made Mr. Bannon, the former chairman of Breitbart News, a member of the principals committee that typically includes cabinet-level officials like the vice resident, secretary of state and defence secretary. He is now in charge of the both the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council headed by Tom Bossert - a reversal from earlier in the year when both the NSC and HSC were put on equal footing.

With crisis in Syria and North Korea escalating, the country needs established and experience hands like Lt.

The New York Times also reported that the president was frustrated that the media credited Bannon for the Trump administration's agenda and was unhappy his top adviser was widely referred to as "President Bannon".

His flirtation with fascism made his membership of the administration, let alone the NSC, somewhat controversial.

National security experts acknowledged that the Obama structure had been rife with complaints about too many meetings involving a glut of decision-makers, but they say those issues could also have been resolved at the discretion of the national security adviser.

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

"There was no shake-up", a White House official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

The U.N. Security Council will visit Washington later this month and meet President Donald Trump at the White House, a council diplomat said Wednesday.

A new memorandum about the council's composition was published Wednesday in the Federal Register.

Confirming that he has been removed as a permanent NSC member, a White House official said the move resulted from a reorganisation by Mr. Trump's new national security advisor, Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster.

Either way, it was one more drama in a White House consumed with palace intrigue, where officials jockey for the ear of the president, angle for authority and seek to place blame for political defeats. He has methodically done so over the past six weeks.

Bannon retains his title and position and remains a confidant of the president who is working closely with other advisers on domestic and foreign policy.

The tension between the two is indicative of a larger power struggle in the White House as Kushner's prominence and responsibility have ballooned.

"He seems to be very close to the president and by most accounts still wins many of his battles", Jeffrey said. "It's nearly impossible with 100 percent clarity to know exactly what that should look like on Day One".

Bannon denied he threatened to quit.

This week news broke that Rice was involved in the "unmasking" of USA citizens on the Trump team that were incidentally surveilled during intelligence gathering activities.

Moreover, Bannon's Svengali-style reputation has chafed on a president who sees himself as the West Wing's only leading man.

Early in the administration, Bannon was at Trump's side for almost every meeting, serving as the unofficial conscience of the Trump voter, pushing for the travel ban and increased deportations, said a White House official who has been in dozens of Oval Office meetings. Frictions with Priebus are said to have contributed to Bannon's demotion. Bannon has complained that Kushner and his allies are trying to undermine his populist approach, the sources said.

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.

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