tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN March 1, 2018 6:00pm-7:00pm PST
welcome to the second hour. on the table whether it's the departure of the second national security advisor or are we looking a t a white house in chaos. what about the president's feud with his own attorney general and the white house secretary carefully constructed answer to the question is he going to be fired. the president appearing to take an nra and you'll hear what the nra top spokesperson has to say. is he staying or going? >> reporter: general mcmaster could leave his position in the white house as soon as the end of this month and in the near future. multipresidele sources say it'sy he will not return to the
military. there's a been a lot of discussion about his returning getting his fourth star. he will retire as a three-star general where it stands twhou. i'm told by a source with acknowledge that mcmaster has spoken to the senior leadership at the hoover institution which is a national security think tank at stanford university that has such luminaries as condeleeza white. it appears that plans are under way not just for his departure but the off ramp for his departure. >> is this president looking within the military. >> a number of replacements, a ceo of oracle and a member of the trump transition team.
another name is stephen biegun. he was a former staff member. the nsa spokesperson is calling all these reports departure by a favorite phrase of the white house and that's fake news. the defense department are referring questions back to the white house because they are calling this a personnel matter. he's still a member of the military though he's out of uniform for that job.
the ultimate decision is the president and things, circumstances all these position changes could change in the end. >> appreciate that. this is the latest in a string of breaking news whether it's hope hicks departure, rob porter scandal, president going after his attorney general again. there's this exclusive reporting on first daughter ivanka trump. counter intelligence officials telling us scrutinizing negotiates. this is part of the background check for a full security clearance. we should point out it's neither clear why the interest in this deal or any allegation of wrong doing. a lot happening with the white house. put it all together, making quit a picture. something to talk about with david axelrod who worked with a
president whose nickname was no drama. >> he'll be the 11th top leveller staffer to leave. what does that say? >> there's never been a parallel to this in previous white houses. you want an experienced team. you want a team that works well with the president and each other. you want them in place over a long period of time so you can have consistent policy and implement it effectively. >> everybody i talked to works in the white house talks about how difficult it can be even in the best of circumstances. you look at this week alone, is this sustainable? >> people who are close to the president said when he took office, he's comfortable with chaos. that's how he's always operated. it doesn't bother him. it's one thing to run the trump
corporation, a small business come tepared to the united stat government. everything he does is consequential. for all of this chaos to rein around him, the near potential trade war that he apparently lost rather casually today over the add viets of h of his senior national security and economic advisors, those kinds of things are deeply concerning. they have consequences that people will feel in their lives. i don't know if it -- it could go on like there but it can't go on like this without catastrophic impacts on the country. that's what people should be concerned about. >> obviously there's the muscle flex we saw from russia today. putin claiming to have this nuclear camable cruise missile with range.
it's another provocation from russia with another muted response from the white house. >> exactly. then you have north korea and now these growing reports that there is real planning going on for military action in north korea. that war would be catastrophic as secretary mattis has said. there would be hundreds and hundreds of thousands, perhaps more lives lost of our allies, our troops. you don't want that decision being made in a chaotic environment or in a casual way. >> the situation with ivanka trump, skrut niecrutinizing thi business deal, it seems how c e complicated the lines are. >> donald trump has lived his life flouting rules, norms, institutions, sometimes skirting laws and has made that a business practice. he has been opaque about his own financial dealings and so that
flows down to everyone else. obviously, this one is very close to him because it's his daughter and his son-in-law but it's really unthinkable to me and would be to anybody else who served this the white house before this administration that you could go into the white house and have these kinds of entanglements and flout them by having meetings with people who are doing business with your businesses and so on. it's really quite something. >> also, donald trump ran attacking hillary clinton for mishandling classified information. he said should would be the only president who can't get oo security clearance. . he seems to be surrounded by people who can't get a full security clearance. this business thing is holding up ivanka trump's security clearance. we know about jared kushner's security clearance be downgraded. how can they perform their job as senior advisors if they don't
have this kind of clearance? >> they can't certain not with the portfolio that jared kushner has. you can't be in the middle of the middle east peace agreement and the number other issues he's dealing with without top secret security clearance. i think that's why there seems to be this tension between general kelly and jared kushner over this issue. the other question is is he really being walled off from this information or being shared with him by the president. >> who legally can do that. >> you have people -- >> and they can. if you don't respect rules you can do anything if you're president of the united states as he has pretty much said including this. it compromises national security and that's the reason why he's not getting his security
clearance. >> the story referenced earlier from new york times reporting that jared kushner obtaining business loans after kushner made with company leds in his official government capacity. his attorneys have said there's nothing to see there. nothing there. just the appearance of these meetings and having loans just seems like something that could have been avoided. >> there's no question about it unless you didn't want to avoid it. i mean, it could be that this wasn't just an oversight but there was an intent to have these meetings. when i was in the white house, the obama administration promulgated rules that said we would say who came into the white house and who they were meeting with. those rules have been rolled back by the trump administration. the trump administration doesn't really believe the american people should have visibility into the business dealings of the president or anybody around him. we can't wholly judge these conflicts of interest. prosecutors, however, have more
visibility into it. there in lies the rub for them. >> thanks. let's bring in the panel. how significant is the departure. >> the role is to coordinate national security policy. it's to get the expertise of the agencies, recommend policy to the president to act on it. then we have kushner having these meetings, bypassing the national security council and not representing them. we had this parade of intel chiefs who have testified they received no direction from the president on taking a policy response to russia.
i think what you have here is a president who really doesn't take this council's role very seriously or kind of pay attention to that expertise. i can imagine it has been frustrating from mcmaster's side to deal with that situation. >> margaret you were saying mcmaster was at hoover. >> he did visit the hoover institution winter board of overseers bhemeeting. he had been at the hoover institution as a military fellow before many military fellows spent time at the institution. he wrote his book. one of the things you hear from people sort of in the national security apparatus is h.r. mcmaster has never been afraid to tell the president what needs to know high pressure he takes on arrows because it's hard to
to tell the president. there's a sense you can only take on so much water with this president and in the white house. it seems mcmaster has gotten to the end of his rope. >> when mcmaster got the job, a lot of people breathe a sigh of relief. does it worry you that a person like him would be leaving this white house at this time? if he is leaving. >> i don't know how real this story is. there's people close to the situation who don't think this is happening. we had a similar episode two months ago where there's specific reporting about tillerson at the end of his teether and he's still there. he's physically brave but nothing quite prepares you for this kind of position in this
sort of administration and we've seen a lot of reporting that is much too buttoned up an serious for trump who likes a more meandering style and northeahe' made a connection with him. they are looking at a slow level crisis. they should want to keep everyone who is there. it's hard to replace any of them. >> there's a sense of duty to service to the presidency, to the country. it was much easier to get somebody from the military in the past than to get from the private sector. people feel like they have more to lose. >> you look at the departures from the white house, it's large
turnover. >> it's beyond the well, beyond the normal. i think most people and i would include myself in this, we don't really care too much about how this sausage is made as long as the results are good. this administration is actually been very fortunate that in 13, 14 months there's not been major national security crisis. yee has stayed at a low boil. every administration gets tested whether it's here or going to be be in iran and then it's really going to matter that there are people there who know what they are doing. everybody acknowledges he is a professional. if he's gone and it's just steve miller, who knows nothing about national security. who seems to be the only policy
person who survive to this period, then that's a very scary scenario. >> i think the reason you have a lot of military men and women who join this administration is because they know and understand that one it's about service of your country but two, very practically, they will have a job or an opportunity when they leave this white house. this white house is damaged. this white house is not a place where any up and coming super star who is an expert in his or her field wants to work because the problem is when you leave this white house, you'll carry with you the stain of this white house. people don't want to endure that. as a democrat, just as an american, i can tell you there are couple of people who are thankful for in this white house. there was a point in time when i had general kelly on this list but he's become wayward. general mcmaster, as a democrat you're thankful he's there because he upholds some of the tenents of our democracy.
these are the only two people along with nikki haley who haven't taken on the personality of their boss. everyone else has been tainted by donald trump. you look in the mirror and you become donald trump. >> we have to take a quick break. it seems to be in turmoil. we'll examine the fractured relationship between president trump and his own attorney general. to the real thing. experience the command performance sales event for yourself, now through april 2. experience amazing at your lexus dealer. smile dad. i take medication for high blood pressure and cholesterol. but they might not be enough to protect my heart. adding bayer aspirin can further reduce the risk of another heart attack. because my second chance matters. be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. 'sleep number spring clearance event'. the dual adjustability of the sleep number bed allows each of you to adjust to your ideal level of firmness, comfort and support. your sleep number setting.
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another big departure coming in white house before the break. the senior staff looks much different than it was at the beginning. these are a few of the top people who have gone since the west wing. luckily the panel is still all here for this break. as a white house how unusual is this. >> what that does to, it takes a while for any administration to get rolling. sort of get their sea legs to understand and work functionally with the other apparatus. it makes it difficult for a
white house that wants to befktive befk effective or pursue any policy agenda. >> rich, as a conservative how concerned are you about the ethics of having ivanka trump, jared kushner still in some capacity involved with their businesses. >> i don't think they should be there in the first place. >> because? >> one they know nothing about government. it's going to make the policy making and the politics within the white house more come kpl complicated. you don't know if you can disagree with the son-in-law or daughter and they are just compromised in terms of business. they want to protect their father or father-in-law and certainly there's plenty of other presidents of relatives
serving in administrations. sometimes in quite high level capacities but i think this was a mistake from the beginning and it's probably not going to end well. we're already seeing signs of that. >> there's a difference between normal white house chaos which i don't think most people care about as long as the results are good. what makes the ivanka and jared problem so different is he has divided loyalties. he's negotiating with countries whose money he needs for his business. china, mexico. his company, perhaps not him, is trying to get investment capital from people he is talking to in business. that's a conflict of interest. that's a security risk. that really does impact the way, the government could function where as the other stuff about whether it's mcmaster or someone else, i don't think we can really judge what difference it makes. >> even if you're not involved in the financing, trying to get financing for 666, your big
building that has a huge loan coming due, you cannot eliminate that from your mind? >> of course. and never can the people -- these people are smart they're talking to. china has sovereign funds. he's dealing with crisis involving both of those countries. at the same time his company, which he is still an investor in, though not an active management, supposedly, is trying to desperately save their company needing hundreds of millions of dollars. he's already getting hundreds of millions of dollars from other people he's negotiating with. >> the argument made in last hour, the american people knew donald trump was a businessman. they liked that about him. are you saying that business people should not have jobs in the white house? >> the problem is when they can also be targeted by foreign countries, by intelligence services.
it's not a criminal investigation. it doesn't mean she's done anything wrong. what this means is that foreign intelligence services likely, if the fbi is investigating it, there's been contact or some kind of targeting because they have identified a vulnerability that they can exploit. they're not going to waste their time unless they see that. she has access. i think as rich mentioned, why are they here? it's not like they have an expertise that can't be replaced anywhere else. >> steve moore's argument is completely erroneous. they hired him under the premise because of the talents he brings to the job but not so he can have his business and the job of presidency at the same time. when you're the president, you have one job. it's taking care of the american people and securing the homeland. it's not also enriching yourself. i think what ends up happening is when they are not clear laws or regulations in place as there
aren't in this place, we need to rely on the legislative branch to fix this on the back end. >> we talk about this white house but for most of the american people what they are seeing is not an ethical dilemma. i think people set that aside for donald trump when they elected him. there's no way he ran on morals, values and ethics. we're starting to see a lack of competence in the white house. look at the people he's hiring. you have communications director. o omaosa. you fire her on the apprentice but you hire her in real life. you love your daughter to death. your love your son-in-law to death but that does that mean they need to be top secret clearance. competence is the problem.
>> i think it's very important for the administration that kelly win that war and not go anywhere. >> we have to take a quick break. the latest word from the white house and whether attorney general sessions may be on his way out. machine i did mom. wanna try it? yes. it intensely moisturizes your hair and scalp and keeps you flake free. manolo? look at my soft hair. i should be in the shot now too. try head and shoulders two in one. ♪ get ready for the wild life with one a day men's. a complete multivitamin with key nutrients, plus b vitamins for heart health. your one a day is showing.
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him or not, he's executing the president's agenda perhaps more efficiently than any other cabinet official that we know about. >> it has to be so painful for jeff sessions. one just the public humiliation but two the irony of it. the first to endorse trump. someone who on trump's signature was there before any other republican and he's actually implementing the agenda except for one thing which the president doesn't consider him personally loyal enough and the president hates him. he's insulting towards him. if he could fire him, he would. apparently his policy is trying to humiliate him into quitting which i don't think will happen. if he fired him or quit it would be very hard to get another senate confirmed attorney general. i think he's there for the duration. whether that's a reprieve or a punishment, i don't know. >> let's remember what exactly his complaint is.
the primary complaint is he recused himself and led to the appointment of mueller which was the right thing for sessions to do under any definition of legal ethics. if you look at the continuing complaints, it's why isn't the justice department prosecuting hillary clinton? think about what that means about american democracy that the president of the united states is calling for the criminal prosecution of his political adversaries. that's something that's never happened in this country. it is a completely outrageous thing but even just this early in the administration we're all sort of, well. >> it reminds me of equatorial gui guinea. >> these are the countries that jump that you -- that appear to be his models. that's just so un-american. the fact it's gone on for so
long and we just sort of norm normalize it. >> if jeff sessions wasn't so anti-immigrant, anti-voting right, anti-minority, antiwom anti-women's rights, the list goes on and on. you could feel sorry for this man. you signed up for this. you know the person that brought you to the dance. now you're looking at donald trump and expect him to be different. i don't have a lot of sympathy for jeff sessions now. i don't know who would want to go work for this administration at any level. he gave up a great seat. he gave up a seat in the united states senate to now be demoted to whipping boy for the trump white house and all of donald trump's friends. >> i want to give him credit for actually bhaking the strong statement in response to the
president. it's the first time he's done that. i think the career men and women really needed that statement to be made. whether yo you like sessions or not he's critical to keep there because he served as a buffer between president and mueller. if sessions left and was replaced, mueller would then report to the new attorney general and hay not have the same latitude and discretion that he is exercising under rosenstein. >> it would be difficult for another candidate to pass the
confirmati confirmation. >> he could fill that position. >> if trump wants a crony, he's not going to get it through the senate. the only person the senate could confirm would be old kind of gray beard type with a lot of independent credibility. someone like that really going to sign up to serve donald trump. i'm a fan of jeff sessions. i think it's ridiculous the idea he's anti-minority. he's a dignified guy. he would never treat anyone the way the president of the united states is treating him sdp. >> that's a low bar. let's not forget who jeff sessions is. coretta scott king told us who jeff sessions was when she wrote a letter to prevent him from being a federal judge. when i say he's anti-immigrant or anti-voting rights act. i'm not coming without any basis or fact. i think that i have more faith in our systems of government than to believe that jeff sessions, with all due respect,
is indispenable. if he wants to say, god bless him. >> who do you think the next attorney general would be? >> i have no idea. for me to actually guess who donald trump would appoint to anything is beyond my capability or beyond my realm of fact. if i had to bet right now, jared kushner. >> the senate would confirm him. >> rudy giuliani. we have no idea where that could come from. my only point remain, jeff sessions signed up for this and now he's the whipping boy. >> thanks. breaking news on how the president statement said yesterday's policy meeting upset plans for new gun proposals today. still buffering. mine too. what happened? hey, joy, you should let your new pals know that according to a leading independent study, the most awarded network is now best in streaming.
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there's breaking news in the wake of yesterday's conference at the white house. cnn is reporting his remarks derailed some carefully laid out white house plans. here is sample of what the president had to say. >> this is not a popular thing to say in terms of the nra but i'm saying it any way. you can't buy -- think of it. you can buy a handgun. you can't buy one. you have to wait until you're 21. you can buy the weapon used in
the school shooting at 18. i think it's something you have to think about. i can say the nra is opposed to hit. i'm fan of the nra. it's no bigger fan. i'm a big fan of the nra. these are great people. they love our country. that doesn't mean we have to agree on everything. it doesn't make sense i have to wait until i'm 21 to get a handgun but i can get this weapon at 18. i'm curious to what you did in your bill. >> we didn't address it. >> you're afraid of the nra. >> you may remember she was in center of some fierce debate last week at the cnn town hall. i spoke to her earlier. >> in the meeting yesterday the president seemed to express concern for raising the age from 18 to 21. due process is something we hear
a lot. do the nra feel betrayed by the president? >> i don't think any of it really made sense to keep our i cans safe and in regards to increase age restrictions, purchasing guns, this is something the nra opposes. millions of young adults for something they didn't do. i want to be quite clear what it is we're discussing. we're talking about putting their liberty on the chopping block and holding them responsible for the incompetency of the government. we had 45 missed calls. two missed fbi tips. the murder called the broward sheriff department himself and said i'm danger. the family members called. neighbors called. it's not these law-abiding americans. they didn't get this call. it's unfathomable to me to think that ri responsible and should pay the price for this. not to mention, we have to
address all of these politicians who for decades have ignored this huge mental health crisis that we have in the united states. >> if president obama said i can't believe in taking the guns first and going through due process second, i would imagine the nra would have spoken out incredibly strongly about that as would many republicans. again, just officially does the nra feel betrayed by this president? due process is something i hear you and the nra talk about all the time and understandably this president just said due process comes second. take the gun. that's fear of so many gun owners in the nra. >> right. it is. we want to make sure we're not stripping constitutional rights from people without making sure they have their day in court. that's one of the things the nra leadership stressed with the
president. this is a corner stone that we have to respect people's due process. former president obama they did have a very different approach. we know that former president obama did not -- he did not even come close to thinking as president trump does on international reciprocity or other issue. he was pretty clear on that. i think the response could have been the same. >> if the president continues to want to raise the age to 21, fights for eliminating bump stocks. fights for all the things he talked about in that meeting, even taking gun, worrying about due process later. what's the message from the nra to him on that in terms of what will happen in the voting booth? >> we've made it clear where they stand in terms of where we are with increasing the age. it just doesn't make sense to
punish people to do that. i lived on my own before i was 21 years old. in my mind i'm like 9 feet tall and weigh 200 pounds. i will be easily overpowered. i can't imagine living by myself and not having the ability to defend myself. it doesn't make any sense to punish them for the failures of government. one thing the president has talked about and that i like hearing and a lot of members of the nra like hearing as well has to do with school safety and whether or not teachers want to be armed. i know there are a lot of media reports. they saw trump is talking about mandatory arming of teachers, which he's not. i read some of the stories on air. there were a couple of stories written. >> he's saying if teachers want to do it, they have the skill for it and receive training. >> if parents and schools
determine if they that's best for their school district then they have the freedom and sovereignty to make that choice. this is something everyone is talk about. we live in an era where it seems evil can go unaccounted for. we have to protect our kids and teachers. >> do the nra feel betrayed. it does feel like you are, with respect, going out of your way to give the president a wide berth here and i have to feel like if this was another president saying these things, there would be some warning shots from the nra or some red flags raised from the nra saying do not go down this road. >> i don't think that anybody
just, just speaking for me personally, anyone who knows me would accuse me going easy on anybody. i don't think nra members can react to something that hasn't happened yet. >> you think it's just talk from him? >> it could be. i think he's entertaining both sides. >> he does tend to agree with the last person he's spoken to whether it's dianne feinstein or republican. you don't believe he really wants to raise the age limit to 21 or you believe he does but other people will influence him not to do that. you're not manning the ramparts at this point because you don't think it's going to be something the white house is pushing for? >> yeah. right now it seems they are just in a discussion phase which is good.
just kind of getting ideas and seeing ining what he likes ande doesn't like. the nra has made it clear in terms of increasing the age. we'll wait to see what else comes out. there are more of these listening sessions. this is just the firns ost one. >> appreciate your time. thank you. >> thank you. >> stay with us on a very busy night. a conversation with a florida republican congressman who was at the white house meeting who now favors a ban on assault style weapons. that's ahead. your top-rated thing. that five stars, two thumbs up, 12-out-of-10, would recommend thing. because if you only want the best thing, you get the #1 thing. directv is rated #1 in customer satisfaction over cable. switch now and get a $200 reward card.
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republican congressman brian mast who was at the meeting. before the parkland shooting he didn't favor banning assault style weapons. now he does. why is the white house delaying its announcement after the meeting? are you surprised by the news? did you have a clear sense at the end of the meeting where exactly the president stood? >> i think so. he said very clearly that if we get him a bill that addresses bump stocks, background checks and buying age, that he's going to sign it. he said he's going to address bump stocks himself, but buying age and background check, we get him that he's going to sign it. >> you heard what nra spokesperson dana loesh said. she views the meeting as a discussion, a conversation rather than putting concrete proposals out there. it certainly sounds like you got the sense it was more than just an open-ended listening discussion session. >> there was a lot that was discussed and there's a lot more that needs to be discussed. that was a great thing.
he did make it clear he would sign a bill if we got it to him. he said that to a number of senators there, senator toomey, senator nugent. people came away with that as well. >> they met with the president and vice-president. do you think the president may tack back to his original positions which were more in line with the nra positions? >> i certainly hope not. you know, he's had a great deal of strength in this issue. you know, telling all the other lawmakers, look, you've got to be strong in this. you can't be afraid, you have to go with your gut, you have to do what you think is right. you can't a say that and walk away from that. you do have to do that. you have to go with what you think is right because this is an issue of life and death. it's an issue of life -- of the kids that go to our schools and that's the way we've got to look at it. i'm not trying to buck the system just to buck the system. i'm going at this and looking at this because it matters to the lives of the kids in my community. >> yesterday the president kept calling for a comprehensive bill. are you clear on exactly what the president wants in that bill? you mentioned bump stocks and
other things. but -- because some of your republican colleagues like senator lindsey graham are saying they don't know where he stands. they want to see it put in writing. >> well, we do need to see it put in writing. that's going to be where the arguments all come in between the house and between the senate. you've seen this movie played out before. so, there is going to be what goes on with background checks, making sure hopefully that there's no more loopholes with any background check system, give people confidence in that system that we could reid out the next nikolas cruz or the next steven paddock and then beyond that looking at are we going to get resources to the schools so they can have, you know, more fortified facilities. have the protection they need there. had the alertness between the law enforcement and the schools themselves. what are we going to do with all of these different things surrounding the fbi and the state agencies and what goes on with those that have been detained for mental illness and their ability to purchase firearms? all of these things need to be addressed but i came away with those concrete or three concrete
points, bump stocks, background checks and the buying age for individuals. i hope he sticks with that. >> i just keep going back -- there was that immigration meeting back in january, bipartisan meeting where president trump seemed to agree with the democrats and then also agreed with the republicans who were holding different points of view. nothing in the end really ended upcoming out of that meeting. i know you're passionate about this. you hope that something is going to happen. what are you hearing from your republican colleagues on the hill? is there really an appetite for some sort of comprehensive bill? >> well, no question there's an uncomfortable appetite for it. everybody knows that this is something that has to get done. i'm sandwiched right here in my district. i'm sandwiched directly between two of the worst shootings that have occurred in our country's history. one in orlando, one in parkland. everybody is aware that this could happen in their community. it may happen in a school. it may happen in a park. it may happen in a movie
theater. it may happen at any number of gathering places. nobody wants it to occur anywhere, especially in their district. but that's why there is this, this uncomfortable, unsettledness about this that we have to do something. we can't allow it again. for a lot of people this is unchartered uncomfortable territory. me include. >> congressman mass, i appreciate your time. thank you very much. we'll be right back. ♪ no, please, please, oh! ♪ (shrieks in terror) (heavy breathing and snorting) no, no. the running of the bulldogs? surprising. what's not surprising? how much money aleia saved by switching to geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more.
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manolo? look at my soft hair. i should be in the shot now too. try head and shoulders two in one. programming note coming up this weekend david axelrod will sit down with with senator jeff flake. you can catch the axe files at 7:00 p.m. that's it for us. don lemon cnn tonight starts right now. >> this is cnn tonight. i am don lemon. breaking news. a cnn exclusive. sources saying u.s. counter intelligence officials are investigating one of ivanka trump's international business deals having to do with the trump international hotel and hour in vancouver, canada. we're going to break that down more in just a moment. it is the latest bombshell in the growing state of chaos inside the trump white house. for a president who prides himself on hiring only the best people, he sure has a hard time keeping them. word tonight of yet another potential departure. cnn just learning that national security advisor