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John Bolton named national security adviser in another high-level White House shakeup

President Trump’s National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster is being replaced by former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton. John Yang joins Judy Woodruff to explain what we know about McMaster’s resignation and the man slated to take his place.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    We have breaking news now, and another high-level shakeup at the White House.

    President Trump has said in a tweet that H.R. McMaster, his national security adviser, is out, to be replaced by former Ambassador John Bolton.

    Bolton will be the third person to fill that role.

    Our John Yang is here to fill us in now with what we know.

    So, John, we have been hearing that H.R. McMaster might be out for some time. What has happened? What about — how did he and the president get along?

  • John Yang:

    This is another one of these long-living, long, slow death of resignations of this administration.

    Remember, he was sort of forced upon the president when — after Michael Flynn had to resign as — or was fired at his first national security adviser. He was a — he is a three-star general. He's active service in the Army, maintained his service in the Army.

    But in his announcement tonight, he says he is going to retire from the Army, which is a little of a surprise, because there had been reports out of the Pentagon that people were looking for a four-star job that could open and could be a nice, soft landing for him.

    But the two of them never really gelled, according to people in the administration. He didn't like — the president didn't like the way McMaster briefed him. He felt like McMaster was lecturing him, which is something this president doesn't like.

    And so now they have mutually agreed, according to the White House statement, that McMaster will resign.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    He was known for his academic background, had written a book on the Vietnam War.

    So, let's talk about John Bolton. He served in the George W. Bush administration.

  • John Yang:

    He was the U.N. ambassador for the — the ambassador to the U.N., which was a little interesting, because he's a little bit of a firebrand. He has a reputation of a bit of a bomb-thrower.

    He was a protege of the slate Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina. He was a recess appointment to the U.N. He was very critical of the U.N. And then he left that post when the recess appointment would have to have been renewed in a formal nomination made, because he wasn't going to get Senate confirmation when the Democrats took over.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    He served, what, just a little over a year.

  • John Yang:

    A little over a year.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    In that position.

    And, John, we have been hearing, we have reading about this. He has been heading up a political action committee to raise money for conservative causes.

  • John Yang:

    A big PAC, super PAC, that has been raising money. The last expenditure was just a couple of days ago. He is a very strong voice in the conservative wing of the party. He was at the American Enterprise Institute for a while.

    This is — it's going to be interesting to see how this is going to be received in the foreign policy community and on the Hill.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    I remember that a number of leading Republican figures in the foreign policy arena didn't want John Bolton to be named. His name was in the mix when H.R. McMaster was chosen.

  • John Yang:

    That's exactly right. He is seen as a little bit outside the mainstream.

    Also, another interesting point is, this is the latest FOX News commentator to be brought into the administration. It's as if — and we know that the president does watch FOX News a lot, based on his tweets. So I think he seems to be taking the people he's watching and bringing them inside the White House.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    So, we should say — John Yang, thank you — this comes on the heels the president fires his secretary of state, and now is getting rid of his national security adviser, the two leading people in the administration who guide him on national security and foreign affairs.

  • John Yang:

    On the eve of talks with — apparent talks with North Korea.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    John Yang, we thank you.

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