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Other members of the National Security Council staff that ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn assembled over the last two months will be following him in his exit from the White House — including his deputy, a Trump administration source told BuzzFeed News.
The departure of K.T. McFarland, who was appointed in December to serve as the number-two person on the NSC and chair of the body’s deputies committee meetings, was first reported in the New York Times. Joining her are other senior directors, the source said.
“Whoever the new national security adviser is should be able to pick his own team,” the source told BuzzFeed News.
The expectation that Flynn’s team will leave with him runs counter to what White House officials told the NSC just this morning. At a meeting on Tuesday, NSC staff was told that no one senior was being asked to leave, according to a second source, including McFarland. “KT is staying,” NSC spokesman Michael Anton told BuzzFeed News in an email. “I’ve not heard that anyone is leaving.”
McFarland, a former Pentagon spokesperson and longtime Fox News national security analyst, was seen to be a potential stabilizing force against Flynn at the time of her hiring, with deep connections to the Republican foreign-policy sphere.
The exodus presents a new set of troubles for a body that has been plagued with staffing issues since the election of President Donald Trump. Just days before his inauguration, several key posts within the NSC — which, as decision-making has been consolidated at the White House, has run the day-to-day operation of foreign policy — remained unfilled. Flynn, for his part, preferred hiring former military and intelligence officials to work under him, a trend that Trump has shown no signs of shaking.