He also caused consternation inside the Pentagon by unilaterally changing policy on how the public is notified of troops killed in action in Afghanistan. The crisis is linked to McMaster's decision to remove four Bannon allies from the National Security Council.
A day after news of Cohen-Watnick's dismal broke, the Daily Caller ran an "exclusive" that cited unnamed former senior NSC officials who claimed, "Everything the president wants to do, McMaster opposes".
General McMaster had sought to remove him in March when Central Intelligence Agency leaders raised concerns about him, but Mr Cohen-Watnick appealed to Mr Trump's top advisers, Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner.
He added that Russian Federation is undertaking a "sophisticated campaign of subversion and disinformation and propaganda", including its role tampering in the USA election.
He added, "Or where else do our interests align?"
One senior administration official thinks the only reason McMaster is still there is that Trump is constantly being celebrated for having the general on board. The White House did not respond to request for comment, but s enior West Wing officials told Circa that Trump did not know about the letter.
President Trump gave H.R. McMaster a vote of confidence after the national security adviser's rivals seized on a letter McMaster sent to his Obama predecessor Susan Rice giving her continued access to classified information.
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"General McMaster and I are working very well together", Trump said in a statement released by the White House.
It was the latest signal that some of Trump's aides and outside advisers have begun eyeing McMaster with skepticism, accusing him of orchestrating a takeover of the National Security Council meant to advance establishment foreign policy thinking.
"Bannon and Gorka have recently become a more regular and outspoken presence at meetings led by McMaster and his team on Afghanistan, the Middle East and the administration's national security strategy", The Post reported.
Sources say the Trump staffers fired by McMaster had repeatedly crossed their boss on issues such as U.S involvement in Syria and Afghanistan, President Obama's Iran deal, the Paris Climate Accord and the threat of radical Islam. "I am grateful for the work he continues to do serving our country". In early August, McMaster pushed out Ezra Cohen-Watnick, whom Flynn had hired for the NSC and McMaster had tried to fire earlier in the year (he was blocked by Bannon and others from doing so).
Cohen-Watnick, who was brought into the NSC by former national security adviser Mike Flynn, incidentally was at the center of the controversy over House intelligence committee chairman Rep. Devin Nunes's visit to the White House in March to look at intelligence reports about incidental surveillance of Trump officials during the presidential campaign.
"H.R. McMaster Promised Susan Rice She Could Keep Security Clearance in Secret Letter", declared Breitbart.