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Trump Removes Steve Bannon From National Security Council

Variety logo Variety 4/5/2017 Ted Johnson
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Steve Bannon, President Donald Trump’s chief strategist, has been removed from the National Security Council in a staff reorganization.

Bloomberg News and other media outlets reported the changes, which were revealed in a regulatory filing on Wednesday.

Bannon had been elevated to the principals committee of the National Security Council when Trump took office, a controversial move not just because of Bannon’s presence, but the apparent downgrading of the role of the national intelligence director and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Both of those figures, Dan Coats and Joseph Dunford, respectively, will now be regular attendees.

According to Bloomberg, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster will have the authority to set the agenda for NSC meetings.

Bannon, the former executive chairman of Breitbart News, documentary producer and movie financier, has been a controversial figure within the Trump administration, and his appointment to attend NSC meetings came under criticism from Democrats and a few Republicans on Capitol Hill.

He has been regarded as one of the most influential figures in the White House who has the trust and attention of Trump. This latest move is likely to trigger further speculation of a power struggle within the West Wing, although White House officials have so far minimized the change to reporters.

McMaster succeeded Michael Flynn at the NSC in February. Flynn resigned after it was revealed that he falsely denied that he had discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, when in fact they had. The conversation took place during the presidential transition period.

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