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MediaPunch / AP

Stephen Bannon was removed from the National Security Council yesterday in a surprise move that suggested the Trump team is turning on Bannon, the president's chief strategist and longtime ally. Here's what we know:

Bloomberg News' Jennifer Jacobs broke the story on Wednesday, noting Trump "reorganized his National Security Council" by removing Bannon.

Drudge Report bannered the Bannon news for most of the day yesterday: "BANNON LOSES POWER IN WHITE HOUSE SHAKEUP."

Trump was reportedly annoyed with the "President Bannon" narrative that emerged from the credit Bannon received for setting Trump's agenda, several associates told NYT. The NYT also pointed out that Bannon's nationalist agenda was hurting Trump.

"He didn't belong on the principals committee to begin with — doesn't really belong in the White House at all," said Representative Adam B. Schiff.

His removal was long-planned, per The Atlantic's Rosie Gray. A White House Official told her that Bannon's role was to "de-operationalize" the NSC from Susan Rice and that Trump had planned to remove Bannon since the beginning of his administration.

The narrative of a mutual decision between Bannon and the WH seems misleading, tweets POLITICO's Eiliana Johnson. "If Bannon was placed on NSC temporarily to 'deoperationalize' it (whatever that means), why wouldn't WH have said that at the outset?"

Bannon reportedly threatened to resign, several outlets noted. "If my talents aren't needed here, I can take them somewhere else," he reportedly said.

GOP mega-donor Rebekah Mercer tried to convince Bannon not to quit, arguing this move is part of a "long-term play," POLITICO reported. However, Bannon told POLITICO that news of his threats to resign are "total nonsense."

One Republican close to Bannon said, per Fox News:

It hasn't all been fun, and I know he's been frustrated.

Jared Kushner could have helped remove Bannon from the NSC, according to POLITICO. Kushner had reportedly complained about Bannon and his desire to "deconstruct the government," which he thought was hurting Trump.

"Bannon has pushed Trump toward a more isolationist policy that holds an especially dark view of the Muslim world," and his nationalistic views have made him an easy target for White House critics, writes the LA Times.

What this says about the White House: Trump and his administration are moving away "from the more hard-line ideological bent of Bannon," per CNN.

"Overall, if the thrust of all of these changes is that Steve Bannon has been removed from the NSC and the principals committee and replaced by Dina Powell... that may show you that the White House is heading in a slightly different direction in terms of decision-making," said John B. Bellinger III, George W. Bush's former legal advisor to the NSC, to WaPo.

Go deeper

In photos: Protests outside fortified capitols draw only small groups

Armed members of the far-right extremist group the Boogaloo Bois near the Michigan Capitol Building in Lansing on Jan. 17. About 20 protesters showed up, AP notes. Photo: Seth Herald/AFP via Getty Images

Small groups of protesters rallied outside fortified statehouses over the weekend ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

The big picture: Some protests attracted armed members of far-right extremist groups but there were no reports of clashes, as had been feared. The National Guard and law enforcement outnumbered demonstrators, as security was heightened around the U.S. to avoid a repeat of the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riots, per AP.

6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations before leaving office

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump plans to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations on his final full day in office Tuesday, sources familiar with the matter told Axios.

Why it matters: This is a continuation of the president's controversial December spree that saw full pardons granted to more than two dozen people — including former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, longtime associate Roger Stone and Charles Kushner, the father of Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

  • The pardons set to be issued before Trump exits the White House will be a mix of criminal justice ones and pardons for people connected to the president, the sources said.
  • CNN first reported this news.

Go deeper: Convicts turn to D.C. fixers for Trump pardons

Schumer's m(aj)ority checklist

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitalizing on the Georgia runoffs, achieving a 50-50 Senate and launching an impeachment trial are weighty to-dos for getting Joe Biden's administration up and running on Day One.

What to watch: A blend of ceremonies, hearings and legal timelines will come into play on Tuesday and Wednesday so Chuck Schumer can actually claim the Senate majority and propel the new president's agenda.