Trump Defends McMaster After Alt-Right Attacks From Bannon Allies

Trump Defends McMaster After Alt-Right Attacks From Bannon Allies

His departure was the latest in a string of exits from the NSC staff under McMaster, who has reportedly sough to purge appointees of Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Gen. H.R. McMaster listens as U.S. President Donald Trump makes the announcement at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida. Breitbart attacks quoting "administration officials" alleged McMaster opposed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appearing alongside Trump at the president's recent visit to the Western Wall.

McMaster, for example, dismissed top Middle East adviser Derek Harvey, last week amid reports that Harvey'd become too close to Trump's chief strategist, Stephen Bannon - a bitter rival of McMaster.

Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the 31-year old senior director for intelligence programs at the National Security Council (NSC), was ousted on Thursday.

Trump has always been a skeptic of lingering US involvement in foreign wars and has expressed little interest in deploying military forces without a specific plan on what they will do and for how long.

That is according to Bloomberg View's Eli Lake, who first broke the story in early April that Rice, who served under President Barack Obama from 2013 to 2017, tried to "unmask" Trump associates mentioned by foreign officials in conversations picked up as part of the US' intelligence-gathering operations. But McMaster has faced accusations he is anti-Israel due to his support of the Iran nuclear deal and reports that he refers to Israel as "the occupying power".

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Although Trump earlier this year gave Mattis the authority to deploy USA military forces as he sees fit, in fact the defense secretary's plans to add around 4,000 more US troops to the 8,400 now deployed in Afghanistan are being caught up in the delay surrounding the strategy, the officials said.

For the time being though, McMaster's position seems safe, with a senior White House official telling the New York Times Friday that the president has "total confidence" in his national security adviser.

It was revealed on Wednesday in news reports that Rich Higgins, who served as director for strategic planning at the NSC, was sacked July 21. "He's one of the few people who can articulate Trump's vision effectively", an official told the website.

Sources say the Trump staffers fired by McMaster had repeatedly crossed their boss on issues such as U.S involvement in Syria and Afghanistan, President Obama's Iran deal, the Paris Climate Accord and the threat of radical Islam.

The changes at the NSC come as the White House has seen a number of other high-profile staff changes: chief of staff Reince Priebus resigned last week and was replaced by John Kelly; press secretary Sean Spicer resigned and was replaced by Sarah Sanders; and newly tapped communications director Anthony Scaramucci was forced out after just 11 days on the job.

Bannon is responding with media allies outside the White House.

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