Trump to Interview Candidates for National Security Post at Mar-a-Lago

President Donald Trump is considering acting national security adviser Keith Kellogg to take on a full-time role as his top security aide following the resignation of Michael Flynn.

Trump tweeted Friday morning that Kellogg is “very much in play” to head the National Security Council along with three other candidates, though he did not list any other names.


Kellogg accompanied Trump on Air Force One to South Carolina and Florida. The president plans to meet with other candidates for the position this weekend at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla.

Kellogg, a retired Army lieutenant general, became acting national security adviser after Flynn resigned Monday night following revelations he misled administration officials about his contact with Russia’s ambassador to the United States. Kellogg previously served as Flynn’s chief of staff and the NSC’s executive secretary.

Kellogg served two tours in Vietnam and was awarded the Silver Star and Bronze Star medals. The 72-year-old also served as chief operating officer for the transitioning Iraqi government in 2003 prior to his retirement from the Army.

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton is said to be under consideration for national security adviser. Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) floated Bolton’s name in a Friday interview with CNN, calling him a “strong” choice who understands the threats facing the world, namely “radical Islamic terrorism.”

Trump initially tapped retired Vice Adm. Robert Harward to fill the White House vacancy, but Harward turned down the role on Wednesday, citing family commitments and financial reasons. Harward currently works as Lockheed Martin’s chief executive in the United Arab Emirates.

Several sources close to Harward said the former Navy SEAL rejected the offer because the administration would not guarantee that he could bring in his own staff and have full authority over the National Security Council.

The White House previously has named former CIA Director David Petraeus as a potential replacement to Flynn.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said during a Tuesday press conference that the administration axed Flynn due to an “eroding level of trust.”

Flynn reportedly misled Vice President Mike Pence about conversations he had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December about sanctions imposed by the Obama administration. Pence then went on national television and repeated Flynn’s claims.

Trump said Thursday he fired Flynn because he had misled Pence, not because of his contact with Kislyak. The president has maintained that Flynn’s conversation was legal, but the former national security adviser could face charges if the FBI determines he misled agents about the talks when questioned last month.

It is unclear when Trump plans to formally announce Flynn’s replacement.


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