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Trump replaces H.R. McMaster as national security adviser with John Bolton

National security adviser H.R. McMaster has resigned and will be replaced by former US ambassador and Fox News analys...

Posted: Mar 23, 2018 12:13 PM
Updated: Mar 23, 2018 12:13 PM

National security adviser H.R. McMaster has resigned and will be replaced by former US ambassador and Fox News analyst John Bolton, President Donald Trump announced in a tweet on Thursday.

"I am pleased to announce that, effective 4/9/18, @AmbJohnBolton will be my new National Security Advisor. I am very thankful for the service of General H.R. McMaster who has done an outstanding job & will always remain my friend. There will be an official contact handover on 4/19."

"The two have been discussing this for some time. The timeline was expedited as they both felt it was important to have the new team in place, instead of constant speculation," a White House official said. "This was not related to any one moment or incident, rather it was the result of ongoing conversations between the two."

"After 34 years of service to our nation, I am requesting retirement from the U.S. Army effective this summer after which I will leave public service. Throughout my career it has been my greatest privilege to serve alongside extraordinary servicemembers and dedicated civilians," McMaster said in a statement released by the White House.

"I am thankful to President Donald J. Trump for the opportunity to serve him and our nation as national security advisor. I am grateful for the friendship and support of the members of the National Security Council who worked together to provide the President with the best options to protect and advance our national interests," the statement said.

Trump and Bolton have been discussing for weeks how he could replace McMaster. According to a source familiar with those negotiations, Bolton promised Trump "he wouldn't start any wars" if he was selected.

Shortly after the news broke, Bolton said on Fox News that he wasn't expecting an announcement to be made Thursday afternoon.

Asked when he was offered the job, Bolton said "it came to a conclusion this afternoon."

CNN also confirmed that Bolton met with Trump Thursday.

Bolton said in the interview that he will be going through a transition period -- which will include working with McMaster -- before taking over on April 9.

A controversial pick

Bolton's hard edged, hawkish views on issues like North Korea, Iraq and Syria make him a controversial pick to become the next national security adviser -- particularly considering that talks with North Korea may soon be possible.

Megan Stifel, a former NSC staffer during the Obama administration responded to the news by simply tweeting: "Now I'm concerned."

Early in the Trump administration Bolton -- a stalwart of several Republican administrations -- was considered as a possible secretary of state and since then has made visits to the West Wing every few months to discuss foreign policy and national security.

A source familiar with those meetings said the two have spent more time recently getting to know each other, discussing Bolton's views and getting a better sense of each other.

Initially there was a concern that if tapped Bolton would "absolutely go along with Trump," a source close to Bolton told CNN, adding that during their last meeting he went over and above to make clear he will do exactly what Trump wants.

Bolton said on Fox News that he has been a prolific speaker and writer for years in Washington, but said that his past comments are now "behind me" and what matters is "what the President says."

After the two met in the Oval Office last week, a source close to the President said: "Trump has always wanted Bolton."

Despite once bemoaning Bolton's thick mustache as unbefitting of a senior White House official, Trump has now determined he can look past it, one person familiar with his thinking said.

Amid speculation about McMaster's fate CNN has reported that the three-star general has been in discussions with the Hoover Institution. As recently as March 8, the White House was denying reports that McMaster was on his way out, with spokeswoman Sarah Sanders declaring on "Fox & Friends" that "General McMaster's not going anywhere."

CNN reported earlier this month that the Pentagon has also been considering options that would allow the President to potentially move McMaster out of his current role and back into the military, according to half a dozen defense and administration officials.

And the Pentagon had been quietly looking to see if there is a four-star military job suited for McMaster, these officials said.

But McMaster's announced retirement from the military this summer would mean he wouldn't receive his fourth star.

National Security Council spokesman Michael Anton had dismissed reports of McMaster's departure, telling CNN on March 1 that Trump had dismissed stories of McMaster's ouster as "'fake news,' and told McMaster that he is doing a great job."

Several sources told CNN that the decision came after months of personal tension between McMaster and Trump.

McMaster has been on thin ice

Trump has privately expressed irritation with McMaster stemming from differences in "personality and style," a senior Republican source said.

The two have never gotten along, and Trump continues to chafe at McMaster's demeanor when he briefs him, feeling that he is gruff and condescending, according to a source who is familiar with his thinking.

Sources with knowledge of McMaster's standing in the White House had repeatedly said that he was on thin ice.

That building frustration was again on display this week after after it quickly leaked that Trump had been directly instructed by his national security advisers not to congratulate Russian President Vladimir Putin on his recent election victory.

Trump was furious -- asking White House aides and allies if they thought it was "a McMaster person" who had leaked it to the press, a source familiar with how things unfolded said.

There was discussion in the West Wing about replacing him last fall, but he ultimately survived because officials, including the President himself, were skeptical about the optics of appointing a third national security adviser in less than a year, several sources told CNN. Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, resigned amid controversy over his contact with Russian officials within a month of taking the job.

McMaster was also retained at the time because of the White House's challenge attracting top talent for jobs in the administration due to Trump's "blacklist" of individuals who have criticized the President, his personality and the Russia investigation, according to a senior Republican source.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 320292

Reported Deaths: 7390
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22299271
Hinds20782424
Harrison18455317
Rankin13933282
Jackson13740249
Madison10276225
Lee10068176
Jones8475167
Forrest7845153
Lauderdale7263242
Lowndes6524150
Lamar636688
Lafayette6315121
Washington5427138
Bolivar4842133
Panola4671110
Oktibbeha466398
Pearl River4610148
Marshall4576105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc426173
Monroe4163136
Union415977
Neshoba4066180
Lincoln4009113
Hancock387687
Leflore3516125
Tate342586
Sunflower339491
Pike3374111
Alcorn327474
Scott320374
Yazoo314771
Adams308586
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma299084
Simpson298689
Tippah292468
Prentiss284461
Leake272474
Marion271480
Covington267283
Wayne264842
Grenada264087
George252451
Newton249064
Tishomingo232469
Winston230382
Jasper222148
Attala215173
Chickasaw210759
Holmes190574
Stone188833
Clay187954
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174232
Yalobusha167940
Smith164134
Walthall135547
Greene131934
Lawrence131424
Montgomery128943
Noxubee128034
Perry127538
Amite126542
Carroll122330
Webster115132
Jefferson Davis108534
Tunica108127
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96729
Franklin85023
Quitman82316
Choctaw79218
Wilkinson69632
Jefferson66328
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 549394

Reported Deaths: 11328
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson810851571
Mobile42180832
Madison35733524
Tuscaloosa26186460
Shelby25638255
Montgomery25103615
Baldwin21921314
Lee16301176
Calhoun14725329
Morgan14650286
Etowah14192364
Marshall12465230
Houston10798289
Elmore10302214
Limestone10191157
St. Clair10166251
Cullman9975201
Lauderdale9621250
DeKalb8978190
Talladega8467184
Walker7351281
Autauga7244113
Jackson6993113
Blount6957139
Colbert6418140
Coffee5650128
Dale4931116
Russell455241
Chilton4476116
Franklin432082
Covington4283123
Tallapoosa4137155
Escambia402380
Chambers3731124
Dallas3609158
Clarke353361
Marion3264107
Pike314878
Lawrence3135100
Winston283672
Bibb268664
Geneva258782
Marengo250566
Pickens237062
Barbour234460
Hale227078
Butler225071
Fayette219763
Henry194844
Randolph187744
Cherokee187545
Monroe181041
Washington170639
Macon163051
Clay160159
Crenshaw156157
Cleburne153744
Lamar147237
Lowndes142154
Wilcox126830
Bullock124642
Conecuh113830
Coosa112129
Perry108826
Sumter106032
Greene93734
Choctaw62125
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