Oct 5, 2019

Report: Trump orders National Security staff cut

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

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O'Brien names new deputy national security adviser

O'Brien. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien is elevating Victoria Coates, his senior director for the Middle East and North Africa, to serve as deputy national security adviser, officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: The move — on the same day O'Brien is holding an all-hands meeting with his staff to lay out his approach — formalizes his prioritization of the region just weeks into his tenure as John Bolton's replacement.

Go deeperArrowOct 10, 2019

Trump's G7 and trade adviser Kelly Ann Shaw departing the White House

Photo: Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty Images

Kelly Ann Shaw, the adviser to President Trump on the Group of 7 and trade policy who served as the U.S. "sherpa" for the G7 and G20 summits, told Reuters Tuesday that she's leaving his administration because she's ready for a "new adventure."

Why it matters: Shaw is one of the most senior women on Trump's economic team and was among those advising Trump during trade talks with China, Reuters notes. White House officials told the news agency she plans to exit her post on Friday to work in the private sector.

Go deeperArrowOct 23, 2019

Channeling Democrats on impeachment

Trump on October 3, 2019 in Florida. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

The top of Sunday's Washington Post Outlook section has two sharp, interesting articles that help explain why Democrats think they have a strong hand on impeachment.

The big picture: For nearly a month, the White House has refused to comply with House investigations into whether Trump jeopardized national security by allegedly pressing Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 presidential election, and by withholding security assistance provided by Congress to help Ukraine.

Go deeperArrowOct 5, 2019