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White House official offers baffling explanation: Bannon added to security council to watch over Flynn

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Steve Bannon was abruptly pulled from his seat on the National Security Council, but the White House explanation raises more questions than it answers.

The White House chief strategist and former Breitbart News publisher was added to the security council on Jan. 29, three days after then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates raised concerns about Michael Flynn — then national security adviser — and his communications with the Russian ambassador.

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A senior White House official told reporters Wednesday that Bannon was added to the NSC to keep an eye on the national security adviser, who resigned two weeks later, and “de-operationalize” the council from Obama’s national security adviser, Susan Rice.

“We all knew Flynn had issues,” the senior White House official said.

Flynn resigned Feb. 13 after it was revealed he had lied to the vice president and other White House officials about discussions he’d had with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak about the possible lifting of U.S. sanctions.

President Donald Trump complained afterward that Flynn, one of his closest campaign advisers, was a “wonderful man” who was unfairly targeted by the media.

The same official said Bannon’s position on the NSC was intended to be temporary, and he never went to a meeting.

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A White House source said Bannon completed the work he was asked to do for the president and was no longer needed on the council.

The decision to remove Bannon was made by Trump’s new national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, who reinstated the director of the Central Intelligence Agency as to the principals committee and restores the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the director of National Intelligence as permanent members.

The move comes one day after the White House blamed Tuesday’s chemical gas attack in Syria on former President Barack Obama’s “weakness.”

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Several officials said the NSC had been preparing a different statement, but Trump’s closest advisers took over the process.


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Morning Joe’s Mika: Thousands are dying of COVID-19 because Trump is ‘surrounded by inexperienced suck-ups’

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MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski got right to the point on Tuesday morning by saying people are getting sick and dying in the U.S. because Donald Trump is surrounded by a collection of "suck-ups" who won't tell him the brutal truth about what is happening in the country.

As part of a "Morning Joe" panel discussion on the failings of the Trump administration to head off of the COVID-19 pandemic that is ravaging the country -- despite ample warnings it was on the way -- Brzezinski, as well as co-host Willie Geist, levied some hard accusations against the president and his team.

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MSNBC’s Morning Joe and Mika reveal why Trump likely ignored startlingly accurate COVID-19 memos

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MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski rebuked President Donald Trump for apparently ignoring startlingly accurate warnings from trade adviser Peter Navarro about the coronavirus pandemic.

Navarro's memos were circulated at the highest levels of government in January and February, but the president downplayed the virus until early March, when statewide lockdowns started wrecking the U.S. economy.

"In one worst-case scenario cited in the memo, Navarro warned that more than half a million Americans could die, and, yet, weeks after that, you had Donald Trump at rallies saying that in April when it warms up, this will miraculously go away," Scarborough said. "Put this in context with, I suppose you could say with 9/11, the memos warning of al-Qaeda attacks using airplanes, maybe missed signals FDR didn't pick up on before Pearl Harbor. I really don't know, though, what parallel there can be, because so many more people are going to die because of these missed signals."

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‘One failure after another’: MSNBC’s Morning Joe busts tragic COVID-19 mistakes Trump keeps trying to deny

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MSNBC's Joe Scarborough lamented the repeated failures and missed opportunities by President Donald Trump as he faced the coronavirus outbreak.

The "Morning Joe" host criticized the president for claiming it was not the federal government's job to test Americans for the virus, and instead shifted responsibility to the states and their governors.

"This is a perfect 'the buck stops here' contrast with Donald Trump, saying, 'I am not responsible,'" Scarborough said. "What we can talk about is ventilators, the national Defense Production Act. We could talk about all the ways that Donald Trump keeps trying to pass the buck, keeps trying to say, 'I'm not responsible.'"

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