White House leakers have a new target, The Hill is happy to stir the pot

Screenshots of H.R. McMaster and Stephen Bannon

Following a month of inactivity, the White House rumor mill is now targeting H.R. McMaster.

While the Trump administration considers building up military presence in Afghanistan in its effort to destroy the Islamic State, White House leakers are targeting McMaster, who replaced Michael Flynn as national security adviser.

Both Flynn and McMaster are retired Army lieutenant generals.

The last incident of palace intrigue centered on a power struggle between chief strategist Stephen Bannon and senior White House adviser and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner.

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The Hill reported:

Those close to the White House describe the latest scuffle as another power struggle between rival spheres of influence. Foreign policy experts see the leaks as a reflection of a broader internal dispute over the appropriate level of U.S. involvement in the Middle East.

 

Bannon’s name is also attached to the new power struggle.

“Bannon is a core architect of ‘America first’ unilateralism and has no interest in continuing forever wars that lack support among the base in the region,” said Ian Bremmer, the president of the international consulting firm Eurasia Group, according to The Hill

“Afghanistan is pretty much the last U.S. intervention you’d want your name attached to. If Trump ends up going with the generals’ recommendation and increasing troops there, the America first-ers will want to make sure McMaster takes the fall when it — inevitably, in their view — goes badly.”

Administration officials attempted to distance the White House from an Afghanistan military buildup by anonymously referring to it as “McMaster’s war” to The Washington Post.

The Post report appeared to confirm A Bloomberg View commentary Monday claiming that Trump was enraged with McMaster and had even dressed him down in front of other White House staff. The Hill reported:

The story said that Trump at one point “screamed” at McMaster on a phone call for assuring South Korean officials that the U.S. would foot the bill for a missile defense system, contradicting the president.

The White House is said to be cutting McMaster out of top-level meetings and has blocked some of his recent hiring efforts.

 

Bloomberg reported that Trump was considering adding former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton to the security council as a check against McMaster.

The Bloomberg story included an official White House statement discrediting the rumors.

“I couldn’t be happier with H.R.,” Trump was quoted as saying. “He’s doing a terrific job.”

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All of which prompts the real question: Have the new anonymous leaks of White House infighting been placed to misdirect the media, or represent reality?

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