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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.

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

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.

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

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


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Boris Johnson said he would rather be ‘dead in a ditch’ than delay Brexit — but just asked to extend deadline

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to write to Brussels seeking a Brexit deadline extension after MPs voted Saturday to demand he delay Britain's October 31 departure date.

In a phonecall with European Council President Donald Tusk after the vote, Johnson said he would send the letter mandated by MPs to seek more time, a EU source told AFP.

"The PM confirmed that the letter would be sent to Tusk today," the source said.

"Tusk will on that basis start consulting EU leaders on how to react. This may take a few days," he added.

Tusk said on Twitter that he was "waiting for the letter".

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Trump is ‘weakened on virtually every front’ as impeachment intensifies: Washington Post analysis

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President Donald Trump is in a "fragile state" and telegraphing weakness, according to a new analysis by Washington Post reporter Philip Rucker.

"President Trump, whose paramount concern long has been showing strength, has entered the most challenging stretch of his term, weakened on virtually every front and in danger of being forced from office as the impeachment inquiry intensifies," he wrote.

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2020 Election

Rep AOC helped Bernie Sanders turn out ‘the largest crowd drawn by any candidate’: report

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) helped Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) turn out a huge crowd at a campaign rally in New York City.

Ocasio-Cortez, also known as AOC, officially endorsed the Vermont senator at the event.

"Bernie Sanders has a crowd of 25,872 this afternoon at his Queens rally, according to the security company handling the event, Contemporary Services Corp. That would make this event, his first since his heart attack 18 days ago, the largest crowd drawn by any candidate," Buzzfeed News correspondent Ruby Cramer reported.

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