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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 (Photo: Screen capture)

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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2020 Election

Lincoln Project whacks the president: ‘We end COVID when we end Trump’s presidency’

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President Donald Trump on Thursday held a campaign rally in Wisconsin with supporters "packed in like sardines."

At the rally, Trump ridiculed former Vice President Joe Biden for social distancing at campaign appearances with America's death toll over 200,000. Also on Thursday, Biden held a town hall meeting on CNN where he spoke in-depth about the challenges of a coronavirus vaccine.

The Lincoln Project, the group of former top GOP strategists working to defeat Trump, said that "only one candidate will protect your family from coronavirus" in a new video.

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Trump said he would give UN speech despite pandemic — but reversed course and won’t be attending

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US President Donald Trump will not attend next week's UN General Assembly gathering in person, his chief of staff told journalists aboard Air Force One Thursday, according to a pool report.

The decision marks an about-face for Trump, who last month said he wanted to deliver his speech in the General Assembly hall in New York, even if other world leaders are staying away due to the coronavirus pandemic.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows ended the debate once and for all, telling reporters en route to Wisconsin, where Trump was to hold a campaign rally, that the president would not physically attend the General Assembly's 75th session, which will take place mainly by videoconference due to the health crisis.

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2020 Election

Trump mocked for 95-minute ‘slurring’ campaign speech — before crowd ‘packed in like sardines’ in Wisconsin

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President Donald Trump gave a fear-filled and factually inaccurate campaign rally in Mosinee, Wisconsin on Thursday.

The rally, held in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, featured a large crowd closely packed together.

Here's some of what people were saying about Trump's speech, which lasted approximately 95 minutes:

https://twitter.com/RSBNetwork/status/1306433275381116928

https://twitter.com/bad_takes/status/1306758848577966081

Trump is slurring and sounds tired pic.twitter.com/6MJLw2fpms

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