President Trump’s elevation of his chief political strategist to a major role in national security policy, and a White House order banning refugees from certain Muslim-majority countries from U.S. entry, appeared to come together as cause and effect over the weekend.
Stephen K. Bannon — whose nationalist convictions and hard-line oppositional view of globalism have long guided Trump — was directly involved in shaping the controversial immigration mandate, according to several people familiar with the drafting who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
The order, which has ignited sweeping domestic and international backlash, came without the formal input of Trump’s National Security Council, the committee of top national security aides designed to ensure the president examines all policy issues from different perspectives.
In Trump’s case, the NSC has not yet been fully formed. Key department heads, including the secretary of state, have either not been confirmed or had little chance to be briefed by those under them.
But even as the mechanism for full consultation with defense, diplomatic, intelligence and other national security chiefs remains incomplete, Bannon’s policy influence was established late Saturday in a presidential directive that gave him something no previous president has bestowed on a political adviser: a formal seat at the NSC table.Read More...
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