President Donald Trump has fired his National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster replacing him with Bush-era defense hawk and former UN ambassador John Bolton.
The president tweeted to thank General H.R. McMaster, saying he had done an “outstanding job & will always remain my friend”.
John Bolton, who has backed attacking North Korea and Iran, told Fox News his job would be to ensure the president has “the full range of options”.
The former UN ambassador becomes President Trump’s third national security chief in 14 months.
H.R. McMaster is the latest high-profile departure from the White House.
Last week, President Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson by a tweet, replacing him with former CIA Director Mike Pompeo.
John Bolton’s appointment does not require US Senate confirmation. He will take the job on April 9.
The National Security Adviser is the key counselor to the president on national security and foreign policy issues, and acts as a conduit for policy proposals coming from various government departments, including defense and state.
John Bolton, 69, said he was looking forward to working with President Trump and his team “to make our country safer at home and stronger abroad”.
He has been a foreign policy hawk in Republican circles for decades, having served in the administrations of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.
President George W. Bush appointed John Bolton as US envoy to the UN, during which time diplomats privately criticized his style as abrasive.
A strident neo-conservative, John Bolton helped build the case that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, which turned out to be wrong.
Known for his walrus moustache, John Bolton does not appear to have greatly moderated his views since his last spell in government.
John Bolton stands by the invasion of Iraq and has advocated in newspaper op-eds using military force against North Korea and Iran.
In a brief statement on March 22, General H.R. McMaster, 55, thanked President Trump for appointing him and said he was applying to retire from the US Army later this year.
The three-star general is leaving after just over a year as national security adviser.
The White House said President Trump and H.R. McMaster had “mutually agreed” that he would leave. He had been rumored for weeks to be on his way out.
His departure came a day after someone at the White House leaked to media that President Trump was advised this week in briefing documents not to congratulate Russian President Vladimir Putin on his recent re-election, but did it anyway.
General H.R. McMaster replaced Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who was fired after less than a month in the job for misleading the White House about his contacts with the Russian ambassador.
President Donald Trump has picked Lt. Gen. Herbert Raymond McMaster to replace Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as his national security adviser.
Michael Flynn was fired after just three weeks and three days in the job.
H.R. McMaster served in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he worked on a government anti-corruption drive.
President Trump’s first choice, retired Vice Admiral Robert Harward, turned down the role, citing “personal reasons”.
Donald Trump has praised H.R. McMaster as “a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience” who is “highly respected by everybody in the military”.
Image source Wikimedia
H.R. McMaster does not appear to have close ties to Moscow, and was recently commissioned to study the ways the US could counter some of Russia’s military advances.
He is no stranger to questioning authority. In a 2014 interview, he said: “The commanders that I’ve worked for, they want frank assessments, they want criticism and feedback.”
Time magazine named H.R. McMaster as one of its 100 most influential people in the world in 2014, saying he “might be the 21st Century Army’s pre-eminent warrior-thinker”.
He criticized the US military’s involvement in the Vietnam War in his book Dereliction of Duty.
H.R. McMaster has a PhD in US history from the University of North Carolina.
He has said it is “a privilege… to be able to continue serving our nation” and that he looks forward to joining the national security team.
The role involves serving as an independent adviser to the president on issues of national security and foreign policy.
It is one of the most senior roles in the US government. Observers say the role’s influence varies from administration to administration, but the adviser is seen as one of the president’s key confidantes.
The adviser attends the National Security Council, and may act as a broker between different government departments.
The role is not subject to US Senate confirmation.
Retired Vice-Admiral Robert Harward, President Donald Trump’s choice for national security adviser, has turned down the job offer.
Robert Harward was widely tipped for the post after President Trump fired Michael Flynn on February 13.
A White House official said Robert Harward cited family and financial commitments, but media said the sticking point was he wanted to bring in his own team.
Michael Flynn had misled VP Mike Pence over his conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the US.
The latest setback emerged hours after Donald Trump robustly denied media reports of White House disarray, insisting in a news conference that his administration was running like a “fine-tuned machine”.
The White House is expected to name its new communications director on February 17, and media say the job will go to Mike Dubke, the founder of Republican media group Crossroads Media.
Image source Wikimedia
Robert Harward told the Associated Press the Trump administration was “very accommodating to my needs, both professionally and personally”.
“It’s purely a personal issue,” added the 60-year-old former Navy Seal who is currently based in Abu Dhabi as an executive for US defense contractor Lockheed Martin.
Asked about reports that he had asked to bring in his own staff at the National Security Council, Robert Harward said: “I think that’s for the president to address.”
Michael Flynn, a retired army lieutenant-general, was ousted amid claims that before he was even appointed as national security adviser he had discussed sanctions with a Russian envoy.
This would have potentially breached a law banning private citizens from engaging in diplomacy.
Michael Flynn initially denied having discussed sanctions with Sergei Kislyak, Moscow’s ambassador to Washington.
However, on February 13, President Trump asked for his resignation following revelations that Michael Flynn had misled the vice-president about his conversations with the diplomat.
Leading Republicans have called for an investigation into intelligence leaks that led to Michael Flynn’s resignation.
Top Republicans have joined calls for a wide investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s links with Russia.
Michael Flynn quit on February 13 over claims he discussed US sanctions with Russia before President Donald Trump took office.
On February 14, a White House spokesman said President Trump knew weeks ago there were problems with the Russia phone calls.
However, calls for an independent investigation have encountered a cold response from some senior Republicans.
The development came as the New York Times reported that phone records and intercepted calls show members of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, as well as other Trump associates, “had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election”.
However, officials spoken to by the newspaper said they had not yet seen evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia on the hacking of the DNC or to influence the election.
Image source Wikimedia
As well as an FBI investigation, both the Senate and House intelligence committees are already examining Russian involvement in the election. It is not yet clear whether the latest claims will be included in their scope.
Michael Flynn stood down over allegations he discussed US sanctions with a Russian envoy in December, before Donald Trump took office.
The conversations took place about the time that then-President Barack Obama was imposing retaliatory measures on Russia following reports it attempted to sway the US election in Donald Trump’s favor.
Michael Flynn could have broken a law – known as the Logan Act – by conducting US diplomacy as a private citizen, before he was appointed as national security adviser.
The retired army lieutenant-general initially denied having discussed sanctions with Ambassador Sergei Kislyak. VP Mike Pence publicly denied the allegations on his behalf.
The White House admitted it had been warned about the contacts on January 26 but President Trump initially concluded Michael Flynn had not broken any law.
White House lawyers then conducted a review and questioned Michael Flynn before reaching the same conclusion as Donald Trump, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said, but the trust had gone.
White House Counsellor Kellyanne Conway said on February 14: “In the end, it was misleading the vice-president that made the situation unsustainable.”
Michael Flynn was also reportedly questioned by FBI agents in his first days as national security adviser.
In an interview conducted with The Daily Caller on February 13, but published only on February 14, Michael Flynn said he “crossed no lines” in his conversation with the ambassador.
The former national security adviser said he discussed the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats over alleged hacking ahead of the election, but “it wasn’t about sanctions”.
Michael Flynn said he was concerned that the apparently classified information had been leaked. He said: “In some of these cases, you’re talking about stuff that’s taken off of a classified system and given to a reporter.
“That’s a crime.”
However, in his resignation letter, Michael Flynn said “the fast pace of events” during the presidential transition meant that he had “inadvertently briefed the vice-president elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian ambassador”.
In his first public comments about the controversy, President Trump tweeted on February 14: “The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington? Will these leaks be happening as I deal on N Korea etc?”
US House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes told reporters on February 14 he wanted to examine the leaks, and said the FBI should explain why Michale Flynn’s conversation had been recorded.
The White House said today that Syrian forces under President Bashar al-Assad have used chemical weapons “on a small scale” against the opposition rebels.
A senior aide to President Barack Obama said the US estimated 100-150 people had died in “multiple” attacks.
Ben Rhodes said the US president had decided to provide unspecified “military support” to the opposition.
The White House had previously warned that the US considers the use of such weapons crossing a “red line”.
Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser to Barack Obama, said the US had no “reliable” evidence the opposition had used chemical weapons.
Earlier, the United Nations said the number of those killed in the Syrian conflict had risen to more than 93,000 people.
Ben Rhodes said the president had made the decision to increase assistance, including “military support”, to the opposition’s Supreme Military Council (SMC).
He declined to provide further details, other than to say it would be “different in scope and scale to what we have provided before”.
Syrian forces under President Bashar al-Assad have used chemical weapons on a small scale against the opposition rebels
“The president has been clear that the use of chemical weapons – or the transfer of chemical weapons to terrorist groups – is a red line for the US,” Ben Rhodes said.
“Our intelligence community now has a high confidence assessment that chemical weapons have been used on a small scale by the Assad regime in Syria. The president has said that the use of chemical weapons would change his calculus, and it has.”
Ben Rhodes said US intelligence agencies had concluded Bashar al-Assad’s forces had used chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, based on battlefield reports, “descriptions of physiological symptoms” from alleged victims, and laboratory analysis of samples obtained from alleged victims.
However, the full number killed by chemical weapons was “likely incomplete”, Ben Rhodes said in a conference call with reporters.
“Put simply, the Assad regime should know that its actions have led us to increase the scope and scale of assistance that we provide to the opposition,” he said, including direct support to the SMC.
“These efforts will increase going forward.”
Further actions will be taken “on our own timeline”, Ben Rhodes said.
Susan Rice, the US ambassador at the UN, is to become President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, officials say.
Susan Rice will replace Tom Donilon, who is set to announce shortly he is resigning after almost three years in the post.
She was once seen as a contender for the job of secretary of state, but was forced to withdraw after opposition from Republicans in Congress.
Susan Rice, 48, was criticized for her remarks after Benghazi attack on diplomats in Libya.
Susan Rice is to become President Barack Obama’s national security adviser
She suggested the assault by armed men on the US embassy in the city of Benghazi in September 2012 sprang from a spontaneous protest over a US-made film depicting the Prophet Muhammad – an account which was later proven to be incorrect.
The attack left four Americans dead, including the US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens.
Susan Rice is seen by analysts as a close political ally of Barack Obama.
Her new post as national security adviser does not require Senate confirmation. Tom Donilon is expected to remain in the role until July.
President Barack Obama is also expected to announce who will replace Susan Rice as Washington’s envoy to the UN at its headquarters in New York.