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President Trump and Robert O'Brien on Sept. 18. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump "has ordered a substantial reduction" of the National Security Council's staff, Bloomberg reports, citing 5 people familiar with the president's plans.

The big picture: Some of those sources told Bloomberg the staff cuts are "part of a White House effort to make its foreign policy arm leaner under new National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien." But the move also follows a whistleblower complaint released by a CIA officer who was previously detailed to the National Security Council, per the NY Times.

  • "Two of the people familiar with the decision to shrink the NSC insisted it was largely rooted in both the transition to O’Brien’s leadership as well as Trump’s desire to increase efficiency at the agency, which grew under former President Barack Obama," per Bloomberg.

What's happening: The cuts will largely take place "through attrition, as staffers return from assignments at the NSC to their home agencies," Bloomberg reports. Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and O’Brien reportedly relayed the staff reduction request to senior agency officials this week.

Go deeper: Trump names Robert O'Brien as national security adviser

Go deeper

Biden explains justification for Syria strike in letter to Congress

Photo: Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden told congressional leadership in a letter Saturday that this week's airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to Iranian-backed militia groups was consistent with the U.S. right to self-defense.

Why it matters: Some Democrats, including Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), have criticized the Biden administration for the strike and demanded a briefing.

5 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes Johnson & Johnson's one-shot COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

Photo: Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday issued an emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson's one-shot coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: The authorization of a third coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. will help speed up the vaccine rollout across the country, especially since the J&J shot only requires one dose as opposed to Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech's two-shot vaccines.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios