President Donald Trump’s freakouts in response to a recent whistleblower complaint covering his communications with Ukraine have been no secret. As those have unfolded, he’s apparently now abruptly ordered a (possibly retaliatory?) “significant” reduction in staff at the National Security Council (NSC), although details about who exactly is getting booted aren’t immediately readily available publicly.
Previously, the council employed about 310 people. It figures prominently in the aforementioned complaint, which alleges that officials on the council worked to hide details of a phone conversation Trump had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Some like noted Trump ally and Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have insisted not just that the whistleblower’s identity be revealed but that the identities of any White House officials that provided them with information be revealed as well. That opens up the opportunity for these people getting kicked out of the NSC as some kind of retaliatory steps — the Trump administration has definitely contorted itself to prevent “leaks” before, even resorting to trying to ban private devices at work.
The stated reason for the NSC staff reshuffling is a drive for “efficiency” under new national security adviser Robert O’Brien, who’s replacing John Bolton and is the president’s fourth formal national security adviser in less than three years on the job — which doesn’t exactly suggest even a pretend semblance of stability to present to the world is coming any time soon from the White House.
‘President Trump has ordered that the staff of the National Security Council be significantly reduced as he seeks to fend off an impeachment inquiry sparked partly by a whistleblower complaint involving the NSC. Bloomberg reports. Five sources cited in the Bloomberg report confirmed the move, saying Trump’s request had been handed down to top agency officials by acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien.’
O’Brien hasn’t particularly distinguished himself yet, although some have perceived him as a ready-made “yes-man” for Trump, which isn’t exactly a good sign for the near future of U.S. stability.
Trump, meanwhile, has been fervently freaking out about the whistleblower complaint to the point of again this weekend contradicting one of his own top intelligence officials about the issue.
Early Saturday, he tweeted:
‘The so-called Whistleblower’s account of my perfect phone call is “way off,” not even close. Schiff and Pelosi never thought I would release the transcript of the call. Got them by surprise, they got caught. This is a fraud against the American people!’
Wrong. In public testimony, acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire – who Trump himself appointed — insisted that the substance of the complaint and the substance of a call record of a scrutinized conversation between Trump and Ukrainian authorities matched. He also insisted that he had every reason to believe that the whistleblower themselves and the intelligence community’s inspector general who’d deemed their complaint urgent were acting in “good faith.”
As the fallout continues, House Democrats have already issued an array of subpoenas demanding documents covering the Trump-Ukraine relationship as they investigate the situation.
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