Jana Winter and Elias Groll got ahold of the memo that led to Rich Higgins’ resignation from the National Security Council (NSC), as well as some additional details about the whole mess, and, well, you need to read the story.
The full memo, dated May 2017, is titled “POTUS & Political Warfare.” It provides a sweeping, if at times conspiratorial, view of what it describes as a multi-pronged attack on the Trump White House.
Trump is being attacked, the memo says, because he represents “an existential threat to cultural Marxist memes that dominate the prevailing cultural narrative.” Those threatened by Trump include “‘deep state’ actors, globalists, bankers, Islamists, and establishment Republicans.”
The memo is part of a broader political struggle inside the White House between current National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster and alt-right operatives with a nationalist worldview who believe the Army general and his crew are subverting the president’s agenda.
Though not called out by name, McMaster was among those described in the document as working against Trump, according to a source with firsthand knowledge of the memo and the events. Higgins, the author, is widely regarded as a Flynn loyalist who dislikes McMaster and his team.
“It was about H.R. McMaster,” the source said. “So, when he starts reading it, he knows it’s him and he fires [Higgins].”
The story of the memo’s strange journey through the White House captures the zeitgeist of what has become the tragicomedy of the current White House: a son trying to please his father, an isolated general on a mission to find a leaker, a right-wing blogger with a window into the nation’s security apparatus, and a president whose closest confidante is a TV personality.
The memo itself is precisely the kind of unhinged ranting you would expect from the fringe right, but it’s also still pretty terrifying to know that this came from someone on the NSC staff.
A few other details worth noting come out of, or are related to, this passage:
In the meantime, however, the memo had been working its way through the Trump White House. Among those who received the memo, according to two sources, was Donald Trump Jr.
Trump Jr., at that time in the glare of media scrutiny around his meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower during the presidential campaign, gave the memo to his father, who gushed over it, according to sources.
In a comedy of errors, Trump later learned from Sean Hannity, the Fox News host and close friend of the president, that the memo’s author had been fired. Trump was “furious,” the senior administration official said. “He is still furious.”
The memo lays out what it described as a concerted campaign to undermine the president.
“The administration has been maneuvered into a constant back-pedal by relentless political warfare attacks structured to force him to assume a reactive posture that assures inadequate responses,” it reads. “The president can either drive or be driven by events; it’s time for him to drive them.”
1. Remember the supposed firewall separating the President, Donald Trump, and his sons, runners of his business? Snort.
2. The problem, as always, is Trump.
3. McMaster’s position may be more precarious than champions of “the adults” realize.