NYT's Habermann: 'Certainly possible' Trump timed McMaster firing to distract from CNN's playmate interview
New York Times' reporter Maggie Haberman (left) and President Donald Trump inside the Oval Office. Image via screengrab.

Known for her access to the West Wing, New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman said Thursday afternoon that it's "certainly possible" President Donald Trump fired National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster earlier this evening as a distraction.


CNN host Anderson Cooper started the interview by asking Haberman if McMaster and Trump's parting, which the president announced via tweet, seemed "amicable."

"To the extent that you can be ritually humiliated week after week with stories leaking out about the president being unhappy with you," the correspondent said, "I suppose that's about as amicable as that gets."

"Things between President Trump and H.R. McMaster were never good," she explained. "They never had a great relationship, they didn't have a good rapport, the president didn't like H.R. McMaster's briefing style. The president likes to mix up these conversations when there are actual briefings with his schtick and H.R. McMaster did not respond well to that."

Haberman went on to say that for all the awkwardness between the president and his second national security adviser, he was most disliked in the West Wing by the White House chief of staff due to a number of reasons that included differences in military rank.

"John Kelly really didn't like H.R. McMaster," the reporter said, "and that, I'm told by several people, accelerated this timeframe."

The Times correspondent went on to say that in the Trump White House, any explanation is possible for the timing of McMaster's departure, which came nearly a week after the Washington Post reported that the president intended to oust him and after months of speculation.

"Knowing this president as well as you do and I do, you can envision a world where, yes, maybe it was to knock off your interview with [Playboy playmate and alleged Trump mistress] Karen McDougal tonight," Haberman said. "That's certainly a possibility."

"I think anything is possible with him," she concluded. "I also think there's a possibility that because John Bolton resisted it, he decided to do it for that reason and made a series of impulse purchases on staff and on policy."

Watch below, via CNN: