Trump’s pick to replace Flynn as national security adviser turns down offer of a ‘shit sandwich’

The Washington Post reports: Retired Vice Adm. Robert Harward has turned down President Trump’s offer to become his new national security adviser, according to two people with knowledge of the decision.

Harward would have replaced Michael Flynn, who announced his resignation late Monday amid allegations that he discussed U.S. sanctions with a Russian official before Trump took office and then misrepresented the content of that conversation to Vice President Pence and other administration officials.

One factor in Harward’s decision was he couldn’t get a guarantee that he could select his own staff, according to someone close to Trump with knowledge of the discussions.

Other officials said his decision was motivated by financial concerns about leaving his job at aerospace firm Lockheed Martin, where he now a senior executive, and the impact it would have on his family. [Continue reading…]

CBS News reports: Two sources close to the situation confirm Harward Harward demanded his own team, and the White House resisted.

Specifically, Mr. Trump told Deputy National Security Adviser K. T. McFarland that she could retain her post, even after the ouster of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Harward refused to keep McFarland as his deputy, and after a day of negotiations over this and other staffing matters, Harward declined to serve as Flynn’s replacement. [Continue reading…]

The New York Times reports: Mr. Trump suggested earlier Thursday that he had demanded Mr. Flynn’s resignation on Monday partly because of enthusiasm about an unnamed person he had in mind to replace him. The president had known since last month that Mr. Flynn had misrepresented conversations he had with the Russian ambassador to the United States, before Mr. Trump was inaugurated, about American sanctions on Moscow.

“I have somebody that I think will be outstanding for the position,” Mr. Trump said at a news conference on Thursday. “And that also helps, I think, in the making of my decision.”

But by then Mr. Harward, who is a top executive at Lockheed Martin, the weapons and aerospace company, had decided he was not willing to take the post. He wrote to Mr. Trump and Mr. Mattis conveying his decision, two of the officials said. [Continue reading…]

Politico reports: Several White House staffers were dismissed Thursday morning after failing FBI background checks, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Some of the aides were “walked out of the building by security” on Wednesday after not passing the SF86, a Questionnaire for National Security Positions for security clearance.

Among those who won’t be working at the White House was President Donald Trump’s director of scheduling, Caroline Wiles, the daughter of Susan Wiles, Trump’s Florida campaign director and former chief of staff to Governor Rick Scott. Wiles, who resigned Friday before the background check was completed, was appointed deputy assistant secretary before the inauguration in January. Two sources close to Wiles said she will get another job in Treasury. [Continue reading…]

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