Trump names hawk Bolton as national security adviser

Donald J. Trump on Twitter:

In Bolton's White House meeting with Trump on Thursday, hours before the president announced the pick, the former United Nations ambassador told Trump he would separate his personal opinions from his responsibility as national security adviser to present all sides and arguments to the commander in chief, according to a person familiar with Trump's exchange with Bolton. He's exhausted of advisers who are steering him away from his true agenda and persona, goes this narrative; instead, he's finally getting back to the basics that make Trump who he really is.

In a statement released by the White House, McMaster said he would be requesting retirement from the US Army effective this summer, adding that afterward he "will leave public service".

Bolton was an official Bush-era diplomat, who was offered up as an ambassador pick during a recess appointment in 2005. This, too, gave a shape to Trump's impulse that he will very likely find flattering, but also one that might move Trump towards Bolton's position.

The appointment of Bolton could lead to dramatic changes in the Trump administration's approach to crises around the world, The Washington Post said.

What kind of relationship Trump will form with Bolton is not clear yet. They, too, tried to channel the president's go-it-alone impulses, but neither was skillful enough.

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But Bolton's tragically shortsighted opinions about US foreign policy extend beyond the Middle East. But one role that has received relatively little scrutiny is his work as chair of the Gatestone Institute, a nonprofit that focuses largely on publishing original commentary and news related to the supposed threat that Islam poses to Western society.

As he confronts matters of war and peace with North Korea and Iran, Trump is bringing in an adviser likely to magnify many of his own instinctive qualities: hard-hitting, fiercely nationalistic and eager to confront USA adversaries.

Bolton, known for his walrus moustache, is a fierce North Korea hawk who, in his prolific writings and television commentary, has said that preemptive war would likely be the only way to stop North Korea from obtaining the capability to attack the U.S. with a nuclear missile.

"Bolton can and will clean house", one former White House official told Foreign Policy, while another source said "he is going to remove nearly all the political [appointees] McMaster brought in".

McMaster had told confidants he would leave the post if at any point he lost credibility on the worldwide stage, according to three White House officials.

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A source familiar with those meetings said the two have spent more time recently getting to know each other, discussing Bolton's views and getting a better sense of each other.

But the Bolton appointment indicates the president's intention to have his way from now on with a team that will do as he tells it to do, with less backtalk than before his purge of the watchdogs and resisters in his first year. Lately, Kelly had been resisting Bolton as a replacement for the outgoing H. R. McMaster, because, according to the New York Times, Kelly feared Bolton "will behave like a cabinet official rather than a staff member". It had appeared McMaster's departure was imminent last week - but White House officials insisted the speculation was false.

That building frustration was again on display this week after after it quickly leaked that Trump had been directly instructed by his national security advisers not to congratulate Russian President Vladimir Putin on his recent election victory. If they are reabsorbed by the council, it will undo McMaster's efforts to dislodge them.

There was discussion in the West Wing about replacing him last fall, but he ultimately survived because officials, including the President himself, were skeptical about the optics of appointing a third national security adviser in less than a year, several sources told CNN.

Here are some of the main responsibilities of the National Security Council and why the role of the national security adviser is so important.

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