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White House: If McMaster Wants Bannon Gone, Trump Will Consider It

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Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent
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Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster will have control over all staffing decisions on the National Security Council, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters Tuesday.

Spicer confirmed this autonomy would even extend to White House Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon, if McMaster requested his removal from the Council. Spicer continued that President Donald Trump would take such a request “under serious consideration,” if it were made.

Spicer’s assurance comes after Retired Adm. Robert Harward reportedly turned down Trump’s offer to replace Mike Flynn, over concerns he would not have full control over the NSC staff. Retired Army Gen. David Petraeus, who was also considered for the post, told reporters at the Munich Security Conference that the national security advisor should have full control over staff.

Harward also did not want former Fox News contributor K.T. McFarland to remain as his deputy, a request the White House denied. He reportedly called the offer a “shit sandwich” to a close friend, prior to rejecting it.

Trump elevated Bannon to a principal role on the Council in late January, angering several national security professionals who allege that it will inject politics into national security decision-making. A White House senior advisor, also a political appointee, reportedly chaired a national security deputy meeting making several career officials uncomfortable.

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