National Security adviser H.R. McMaster and White House chief strategist Steve Bannonhave been in a long-running battle. Allies of Bannon have intensified their battle against McMaster as he began inserting more control over the National Security Council.
It has now emerged that the main reason behind the Bannon-McMaster feud apparently is a White House “enemies list” of alleged Obama loyalists to be fired early in the Trump administration. McMaster’s staffers were reportedly working on the list without his knowledge.
The Trump administration never acted upon the list and most of the employees have finished their tenure at the White House and have returned.
Although the employees have returned to their home agencies, there is now a fallout of the list. McMaster fired two of his top aides, who happen to be Bannon’s alt-right media allies. The NSC adviser got a go-ahead in the dismissals from White House chief of staff Gen. John Kelly as he also questioned their loyalty.
The dismissals included ouster of NSC intelligence director Ezra Cohen-Watnick and ret. Col. Derek Harvey, the NSC Mideast director.
Cohen-Watnick and Harvey reportedly had meetings with Bannon throughout his tenure. These meetings ultimately resulted in their dismissal as McMaster then decided to make a move against them. However, apart from the meetings, their activities were also suspicious.
Harvey’s dealings with Pentagon had become fractious. In McMaster’s eyes, the biggest sin was to look over the “enemies list” and not informing him that such a list was being looked thoughtfully at. Harvey also let White House adviser Sebastian Gorka to sit in meetings about the Middle East and didn’t ask McMaster about it.
“There is a split in the White House between the Bannon camp of ideologues and the McMaster-Mattis-Tillerson camp of more centrist intellectuals. And this conflict is playing out in real time as the Trump administration tries to flesh out its foreign policy and national security policy,” saidPete Mansoor, a retired Army colonel who worked closely with McMaster.
Trump removedBannon from the National Security Councilreversing his controversial decision early this year to give a political adviser an unprecedented role in security discussions. He was removed a little after Flynn departed and McMaster took charge.
However, he continues to serve as the chief strategist in the Trump administration. McMaster and Bannon reportedly are not on good terms and there is no trust between the two as well.
Wow, there are *two* purge lists" that have been fomenting distrust at WH. The Flynn list I reported on & this one: https://t.co/lfV7rEeeT8— John Hudson (@John_Hudson) August 5, 2017
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