President Donald Trump has removed chief strategist Steve Bannon from the National Security Council, reversing a controversial early decision to give Bannon access to the high-level meetings.
A new memorandum about the composition of the NSC was published in the Federal Register on Wednesday. The memo no longer lists the chief strategist as a member of the Principal's Committee, a group of high-ranking officials that convene to discuss pressing national security priorities.
The new memo also restores the director of national intelligence, and the Joint Chiefs chairman to the Principal's Committee.
A senior White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Bannon’s presence on the NSC was no longer needed after the departure of Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn.
Flynn was forced to resign in February over his contacts with Russia's ambassador to the United States, Sergei Kisylak, prior to Trump's taking office on 20 January.
The official said Bannon had been placed on the NSC, originally as a check on Flynn, and had only ever attended one of the NSC's regular meetings.
Bannon’s addition to the NSC sparked concerns from Trump critics, who said it was inappropriate for the political adviser to play a role on national security matters.
Bannon, who was the former executive chairman of Breitbart News, became a part of the National Security Council’s principals committee when Trump became the president.
Bloomberg reported that National Security Adviser HR McMaster was given responsibility for setting the agenda for meetings of the NSC or the Homeland Security Council.
(With inputs from AP and Reuters.)
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