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Trump to interview four candidates for national security adviser

Trump to interview four candidates for national security adviser

President Trump on Sunday will interview four candidates to replace recently resigned national security adviser Michael Flynn, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Saturday.

The president is at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida this weekend, where he’s expected to speak with several current and former U.S. officials about the top national security aide post, according to a pool report.

On the list of candidates is Army strategist Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, former United Nations ambassador John Bolton, acting national security adviser Keith Kellogg and West Point superintendent Lt. Col. Robert Caslen, Spicer told reporters.

The spokesman indicated that Trump may interview others, as well.

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Bolton, a foreign policy hawk and former State Department arms control official, has won the backing of Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate committee approves nominations of three FEC commissioners Cruz urges Supreme Court to take up Pennsylvania election challenge OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump administration proceeds with rollback of bird protections despite objections | Trump banking proposal on fossil fuels sparks backlash from libertarians | EU 2019 greenhouse gas emissions down 24 percent MORE (R-Texas), who called him “someone who understands the world.” He’s also a rumored pick for deputy secretary of State.

Other lawmakers, however, such as Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulOvernight Defense: Lawmakers release compromise defense bill in defiance of Trump veto threat | Senate voting next week on blocking UAE arms sale | Report faults lack of training, 'chronic fatigue' in military plane crashes Senate to vote next week on blocking Trump's UAE arms sale McConnell in tough position as House eyes earmark return MORE (R-Ky.) have staunchly opposed the idea of Bolton joining the Trump administration, because of his aggressive stances on foreign and military policy.

Nevertheless, Bolton is not yet a lock for the national security adviser job. Trump on Friday tweeted that Kellogg, as well as three other candidates, are “very much in play.”

It wasn’t clear if all the interviews would be conducted in person or if some candidates would interview on the phone.

The interviews follow a series of shake ups on Trump’s National Security Council.

Flynn resigned from his post on Monday amid revelations that he discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. and mislead Vice President Pence about the conversations.

Trump’s first choice to replace Flynn, Vice Adm. Robert Harward, turned down the job this week, citing professional and family commitments that he said would not allow him to accept the president’s offer.

Another top NSC aide, Craig Deare, was dismissed on Friday for allegedly criticizing the president and his administration at an event hosted by a Washington-based think tank.