The White House is reportedly planning to replace national security adviser H.R. McMaster as early as next month, in a plan Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and chief of staff John Kelly drew up.
The move would send McMaster back to a high-level Army command and bring in auto industry executive Stephen Biegun as national security adviser, NBC News reported, citing five administration officials.
McMaster served as director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center in Virginia when he was named national security adviser in February 2017. He remained an active duty Army lieutenant general rather than retire from military service.
Rumors swirled in Washington that President Donald Trump soured on McMaster as national security adviser. McMaster told a forum last month in Germany that evidence for Russian meddling in the 2016 election was “incontrovertible” — a comment that drew a sharp, public correction from the president.
“General McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians and that the only Collusion was between Russia and Crooked H, the DNC and the Dems,” Trump tweeted mid-February.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah did not confirm or deny NBC’s report when reporters questioned him Thursday.
“We frequently face rumor and innuendo about senior administration officials,” Shah said. “There are no personnel announcements at this time.”
Biegun, currently Ford Motor Company’s vice president of international governmental affairs, is said to be the leading candidate to replace McMaster, according to NBC News. He was the executive secretary of the National Security Council from 2001 to 2003.
McMaster is being considered for another three-star job in the Army or even a promotion to a four-star general, according to NBC’s reporting.
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