Donald Trump defends national security adviser amid criticism from conservatives

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President Trump has chose to stand up and defend his national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, amid increasing pressure to get him fired from some members of the commander in chief's electoral base.

But Circa first reported Thursday that McMaster sent a letter giving Rice access to classified material, weeks after her alleged role was disclosed in "unmasking" identities of Trump associates in intelligence reports. Bannon pushed for the U.S.to pull out of the region, while McMaster argued for even greater involvement.

On "The Story" tonight, Lt. Col. Michael Waltz (Ret.) said Trump is right to be frustrated with the lack of a comprehensive strategy in Afghanistan.

Also gone is Derek Harvey, who held the Middle East portfolio at the NSC, and who also was an Iran hawk.

In addition to the firings of people seen as particularly pro-Trump, many on the right also seized on a decision to extend a security clearance for Susan Rice, President Barack Obama's final national security adviser.

McMaster continued: "So what we have to do is. everything we can to pressure this regime, to pressure Kim Jong Un and those around him such that they conclude it is in their interest to denuclearise".

Mr Cohen-Watnick's departure came as part of a string of shake-ups at the White House and national security council.

Although Trump earlier this year gave Mattis the authority to deploy USA military forces as he sees fit, in fact the defense secretary's plans to add around 4,000 more US troops to the 8,400 now deployed in Afghanistan are being caught up in the delay surrounding the strategy, the officials said.

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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.

General McMaster is a true public servant and a tremendous asset for the president and the administration.

Cohen-Watnick's removal comes after the revelation by The Atlantic on Wednesday of the dismissal of Rich Higgins, another Iran hawk who was the NSC's director of strategic planning.

McMaster's various moves have been noticed by Trump's base, with #FireMcMaster becoming a trending hashtag on Twitter, and a regular topic on conservative news sites - including Breitbart News.

With all of the staff turnover, McMaster has become the target of pro-Trump pundits in the media who view him as a "globalist" out of step with Trump's policies and angling for a military escalation in Afghanistan after 16 years of fighting.

New White House chief of staff John Kelly, a retired four-star Marine general, is now seeking to impose order on a chaotic West Wing.

The White House had no comment on the accounts of the meeting.

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