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Bannon dropped from National Security Council in Trump overhaul

White House chief strategist Steve Bannon (I.) walks on Capitol Hill in Washington March 23, 2017. In Trump administration shake-up, Mr. Bannon was removed from his post on April 5. Photo by Alex Brandon/AP.

By Steve Holland and John Walcott | Reuters via Christian Science Monitor

President Trump removed his chief strategist Steve Bannon from the National Security Council on Wednesday, reversing his controversial decision early this year to give a political adviser an unprecedented role in security discussions.

Mr. Trump’s overhaul of the NSC, confirmed by a White House official, also elevated Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Dan Coats, the director of National Intelligence who heads all 17 US intelligence agencies. The official said the change moves the NSC “back to its core function of what it’s supposed to do.”

It also appears to mark a victory by national security adviser H.R. McMaster, who had told some national security experts he felt he was in a battle to the death with Mr. Bannon and others on the White House staff.

Trump’s White House team has grappled with infighting and palace intrigue. In recent days, several other senior US foreign policy and national security officials have said the mechanisms for shaping the Trump administration’s response to pressing challenges such as Syria, North Korea, and Iran were still not in place.

Critics of Bannon’s role on the NSC said it gave too much weight in decisionmaking to someone who lacked foreign policy expertise.

Before joining the Trump administration, Bannon headed Breitbart News, a right-wing website.

The White House official said Bannon was no longer needed on the NSC after the departure of Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

Mr. Flynn was forced to resign on Feb. 13 over his contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Sergei Kislyak, prior to Trump’s taking office on Jan. 20.

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.

The official dismissed questions about…

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