On 5 April 2017, the Trump administration announced a shakeup in the National Security Council: Steve Bannon, the former Breitbart News executive who serves as an adviser to the president, was removed from his controversial role in the National Security Council.
Under the move, the national intelligence director, Dan Coats, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, are again “regular attendees” of the NSC’s principals committee.
Bannon, the former executive chairman of Breitbart News, was elevated to the National Security Council’s principals committee at the beginning of Trump’s presidency. The move drew criticism from some members of Congress and Washington’s foreign policy establishment.
A White House official said that Bannon was placed on the committee in part to monitor Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and never attended a meeting. He’s no longer needed with McMaster in charge of the council, the official said.
Bannon will keep his security clearance, but White House officials told reporters that he was only on the NSC to serve as a “check” against former National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn to make sure that he followed through with a directive to depoliticize the NSC:
Bannon only attended one meeting of the Principles Committee and Flynn was fired from his role in early February after misleading Vice President Mike Pence about conversations he had with a Russian official.
With H.R. McMaster now established as National Security Adviser, Trump saw no need for Bannon to stay on the committee as a check on Flynn, the official said.
Bannon is still permitted to attend NSC meetings, but does not have a regular seat.