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Photo: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

The White House has eliminated its top cybersecurity advisor post, Politico reports. Rob Joyce, who announced his resignation weeks ago, will be the last so-called cyber czar.

Why it matters: This is the latest episode in the Trump administration, and national security advisor John Bolton has remade the national security apparatus away from cybersecurity. Since Bolton's arrival, the National Security Council has lost homeland security advisor Tom Bossert and Joyce.

How it happened: Politico reports that Christine Samuelian, an aide to Bolton, wrote the Council on Tuesday explaining in an email obtained by Politico from a former U.S. official, that the decision is part of a larger effort to "streamline authority" for senior directors who head NSC teams.

John Bolton gets what he wants: Bolton had long been rumored to want to demote the cybersecurity advisor post from one reporting to the president to one reporting to him. More recently he had been rumored to be considering eliminating the post entirely.

The timing: At a time with unprecedented cybersecurity threats, Bolton has consolidated power at a time nearly everyone outside the administration agrees calls for specialized knowledge. Right now:

  • The U.S. is picking fights with two of its top cyber adversaries in Russia and Iran.
  • The National Security Council — on which the cybersecurity coordinator sits — can't agree on important aspects of cybersecurity strategy.
  • The country is just welcoming a new director to the NSA and Cyber Command — the top posts in cyber espionage and offense.
  • Criminal threats continue to evolve.
  • The president has proposed some form of massive infrastructure investment. Modern infrastructure is connected to computers — creating brand new threats.

What they're saying: In a statement House Homeland Security Committee ranking member Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said "after just a month in the Trump White House [Bolton] is already wreaking havoc on the National Security Council."

Go deeper

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.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”

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