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Trump yesterday added Steve Bannon, his chief strategist, to the National Security Council's Principals' Committee, on par with the SecState and SecDef. Neither Karl Rove nor David Plouffe nor David Axelrod were on the Principals' Committee.

Bannon is defined as a regular attendee, an elevation over the Director of National Intelligence and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who "shall attend where issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise are to be discussed." Signing the NSC organizational order in the Oval Office, Trump told reporters the structure "represents … a lot of efficiency and I think a lot of additional safety. People have been talking about doing this for a long time — like many years."

Compare that to how George W. Bush handled his close advisor, Karl Rove:

Former GWB chief of staff Josh Bolten explains why the president did not allow Karl Rove to attend NSC mtgs, ever https://t.co/H6abw7buGP pic.twitter.com/Uad0vh3AIt— Rebecca Berg (@rebeccagberg) January 29, 2017

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
6 mins ago - Politics & Policy

America is anxious, angry and heavily armed

Data: FBI; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Firearms background checks in the U.S. hit a record high in 2020.

The big picture: This past year took our collective arsenal to new heights, with millions of Americans buying guns for the first time. That trend coincides with a moment of peak political and social tension.

Mike Allen, author of AM
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

America on borrowed time

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Economic recovery will not be linear as the world continues to grapple with the uncertainty of the pandemic.

Why it matters: Despite being propped up by an extraordinary amount of fiscal stimulus and support from central banks, the state of the global economy remains fragile.

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.