US National Security Council reshuffle claims another casualty: official

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Posted

April 10, 2017 04:50:40

A top national security adviser to US President Donald Trump is the latest official heading out in an ongoing shuffle within the National Security Council, a US official says.

Key points:

  • KT McFarland expected to be offered job as ambassador to Singapore
  • Ms McFarland is a former national security analyst for Fox News
  • Donald Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon was removed from security council last week

Deputy national security adviser Kathleen Troia ‘KT’ McFarland is expected to step down and be offered the position of US ambassador to Singapore, the official said.

The move comes as Mr Trump’s national security adviser, Herbert Raymond ‘HR’ McMaster, rejigs the national security team he inherited from retired General Michael Flynn, who resigned as Mr Trump’s first national security adviser in February.

Ms McFarland, 65, is a former national security analyst for Fox News and was one of Mr Trump’s original hires after he was elected president on November 8.

News of her pending departure came less than a week after Mr Trump removed his chief strategist, Steve Bannon, from a seat on the National Security Council at the urging of General McMaster.

Mr Flynn was forced to resign in February over his contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Sergei Kislyak, prior to Mr Trump taking office on January 20.

Another White House official, Dina Powell, was recently named deputy national security adviser for strategy and has been present in the recent high level meetings with delegations from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and China.

Ms Powell joined the White House to work with Mr Trump’s daughter Ivanka on women’s empowerment issues.

She had previously served as assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs under president George W Bush before joining Goldman Sachs.

But Ms Powell soon began attending senior-level staff meetings with the President himself.

Speculation had been swirling

Her promotion to deputy national security adviser last month triggered early speculation that Ms McFarland’s days on the National Security Council were numbered.

On Thursday, as the President met with top national security and cabinet officials in a newly built situation room at Mr Trump’s Florida resort to trigger US missile strikes on Syrian government installations, Ms Powell was among the attendees. Ms McFarland was not.

A new memorandum about the council’s composition, published on Wednesday in the Federal Register, also reflected that the director of national intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as the energy secretary, had been restored as members of the principals committee.

The changes come as Trump’s White House faces allegations that it funnelled secret intelligence reports to a Republican congressman leading an investigation into his campaign’s possible ties to Russian officials as well as Moscow’s interference in the 2016 election.

Reuters/AP

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