Trump Administration Calls for Smaller National Security Council Staff Following Whistleblower Complaint – NewsweekOctober 27, 2019
President Donald Trump reportedly demanded a reduction in staff size of his National Security Council this week, in the wake of reports a whistleblower complaint in connection with the agency.
A number of individuals tied to the NSC and its future plans said new National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien is set to oversee a much leaner staff after the Trump-Ukraine phone call leak late last month.
According to Bloomberg, the request to reduce the size of the staff was relayed to senior agency officials by acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and O’Brien this week.
On Friday evening, Trump retweeted the commentary of a former Investor’s Business Daily reporter: “The whistleblower is a registered Democrat & CIA analyst who was detailed before the 2016 election to the Obama White House,where he worked on the NSC’s Ukraine desk & met w anti-Trump Ukrainian officials before being sent packing by the Trump NSC & becoming disgruntled.”
Trump has repeatedly lashed out at the so-called whistleblower, and referred to the individual as a “spy” who should potentially be pursued for “treason.”
Trump’s critics jumped on the NSC staff reduction as a “purge” tied to the Ukraine reports, particularly after former National Security Adviser John Bolton was ousted last month and ridiculed Trump in a series of public comments.
The reductions to the NSC staff will affect many who are career government professionals from the U.S. State Department, the Pentagon and several intelligence agencies, Bloomberg reported. The NSC has been under threat from members of Congress for several years and many have demanded making the national security adviser position, which Bolton formerly held, a Senate-confirmed position.
Last week, The New York Times reported the whistleblower was a CIA officer and the leak of Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy became the driving force behind House Democrats’ push to impeach the president.
As Bloomberg noted, the NSC was created under former President Harry Truman’s administration in 1947 in order to provide the Oval Office-holder with experts on foreign policy matters.
The whistleblower has not yet been publicly identified, although speculation is rampant, including accusations against Bolton, as Trump himself seeks to minimize those offering advice around him.