By KYLE FELDSCHER
White House chief strategist Steve Bannon has been removed from the National Security Council in a staff shake-up, according to a federal filing.
According to a National Security Presidential Memorandum in the Federal Register, Bannon is off the council and Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert has been demoted.
National security adviser H.R. McMaster is now in charge of setting the agenda for meetings of the council and can delegate that responsibility to Bossert, if he so chooses.
Bossert took a trip to Iraq this week with Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and one of his top advisers.
“The security threats facing the United States in the 21st century transcend international boundaries,” Trump wrote in the memo. “Accordingly, the United States Government’s decision-making structures and processes to address these challenges must remain equally adaptive and transformative.”
Bannon’s appointment to the National Security Council was seen as controversial in the early days of the Trump administration given the stories about Muslims and foreign countries published during his time in charge of Breitbart.
Bannon’s removal from the council comes as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coates were reinstated to the National Security Council’s principals committee.
Democrats were concerned about Bannon’s appointment to the council because of his past statements in which he compared himself to Vladimir Lenin and advocated for the destruction of the administrative state. Some Democratic lawmakers even introduced a bill to prevent him from being on the council.
Bloomberg reported Bannon was on the council to provide a sort of check on former National Security Adviser retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn. Flynn was eventually run out of the White House for inaccurately telling Vice President Mike Pence about the nature and frequency of his conversations with the Russian ambassador in the lead up to Trump’s inauguration.
According to the report, Bannon never attended a meeting of the council and Trump felt he was no longer needed to be on it.
“Susan Rice operationalized the NSC during the last administration,” Bannon told the Wall Street Journal. “I was put on to ensure that it was de-operationalized. General McMaster has returned the NSC to its proper function.”