The recent actions of President Donald Trump in his first 11 days in office have created chaos not only in America but around the globe. Once more, Trump is shown to be a president with a team in place in which no one knows what they are doing. This, however, is another masterful Trump distraction being orchestrated by his chief advisor Steve Bannon. The real danger is how Bannon, a White supremacist who has claimed to be a Leninist dedicated to destroying the establishment, reached the height of power.
Last week on top of his executive orders, Trump also rearranged the makeup of his National Security Council in a chilling move. Trump no longer will require the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence to be present at his cabinet-level council. But the most shocking change is that Bannon will now be involved as Trump has appointed him to the council. The announcement sparked disbelief and outrage from former senior level government officials. Former acting CIA chief Michael Morell called the move “unprecedented” and stated, “I have never been to a principals’ meeting where the views of the DNI and the views of the chairman are not relevant. Every principals’ meeting starts with an intelligence briefing by the DNI. Having somebody like Bannon in the room brings politics into a room where there should be no politics.”
This view was echoed by former 2016 presidential candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders who stated, “Steve Bannon sitting on the National Security Council is dangerous and unprecedented. He must be removed.”
Georgia Congressman Hank Johnson stated his concern during a radio interview on Monday. He stated about Trump’s reorganization of the National Security Council, “He’s going to play with national security out of his jacket pocket. He’s going to play it like he can make a gut decision on complex and historical issues. He is sitting with no institutional knowledge and surrounding himself with the same … War and Peace will be decided the same way this Muslim ban was started. It’s frightening that he would divest his NSC team of some of the best voices in the field. We can at least respect that they understand the work they do.”
According to multiple sources, Trump’s recent executive orders were crafted by Bannon with no input from the Justice Department, Homeland Security or other agency until the day it was to be signed. In response, the Acting US Attorney General Sally Yates, an Obama appointee, refused to enforce the travel ban that targeted Muslims and ordered Justice Department lawyers not to defend Trump’s executive order in court. In a statement, she is quoted as saying, “My responsibility is to ensure that the position of the Department of Justice is not only legally defensible, but is informed by our best view of what the law is…I am not convinced that the defense of the executive order is consistent with these responsibilities nor am I convinced that the executive order is lawful. For as long as I am the acting attorney general, the Department of Justice will not present arguments in defense of the executive order, unless and until I become convinced that it is appropriate to do so.”
Yates, who was due to be replaced by Jeff Sessions as attorney general, was fired within hours by Trump.