Former Amb. John Bolton is back in the running to replace former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The remaining final candidates for the position also include Retired Lt. Gen Keith Kellogg and Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster. Retired Army Gen. David Petraeus was said to be on President Donald Trump’s original shortlist, but pulled himself from the running out of concern he would not be able to have full control over national security decision making in the White House.
These same concerns led Retired Adm. Robert Harward to reject Trump’s offer Thursday, who insisted he would only take the job if he had full control over his own staff. Harward did not want former Fox News contributor K.T. McFarland to remain as his deputy, a request the White House denied. Harward was also concerned about political involvement in the National Security Council (NSC), specifically from White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon and senior adviser to the president Stephen Miller.
Kellogg remains interim head of the national security council, and will interview for the position with Trump at his residence in Florida Saturday or Sunday. Bolton and McMaster will also interview for the position.
Trump expressed his full confidence in Kellogg in a tweet Friday saying:
General Keith Kellogg, who I have known for a long time, is very much in play for NSA – as are three others.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2017
Bolton was originally considered by Trump for U.S. secretary of state during the transition. He served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under former President George W Bush, and remained a vocal critic of the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran. McMaster has had a storied career in the U.S. Army, serving in the wars on terror. He currently serves as the head of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command.
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