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Peace in the White House as Trump backs ‘embattled’ members of his team

Trump has publicly expressed support for two senior members of his team, who had seemed in imminent danger of being ousted.

world Updated: Aug 06, 2017 21:22 IST
Yashwant Raj
File photo of Donald Trump.
File photo of Donald Trump.(AP)

Peace may have finally broken out in the White House, with US President Donald Trump publicly expressing support for two senior members of his team who had seemed in imminent danger of being ousted.

Attorney general Jeff Sessions and national security adviser Gen HR McMaster are safe, it seems, at least till his next Twitter-rage.

“After many years of LEAKS going on in Washington, it is great to see the A.G. taking action! For National Security, the tougher the better!” Trump tweeted on Saturday, whom he had earlier publicly criticised and mocked as “beleaguered”.

The pat-on-the-back for Sessions’s came after he announced that the justice department had “tripled the number of active leak investigations” and that it be deploying more resources to tracking down leakers. The department may even consider issuing subpoenas to journalists.

Trump has been very angry with Sessions for recusing himself from the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 elections and holds him responsible for the eventual appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller, who may end up probing Trump’s past business dealings.

As Republicans and even Trump’s own base came to Sessions’s defence, Trump seemingly backed off.

The previous day, Trump expressed support for McMaster, saying in a statement, “Gen McMaster and I are working very well together. He is a good man and very pro-Israel. I am grateful for the work he continues to do serving our country.”

McMaster has had serious policy differences on some key national security issues. He has been targeted by the “nationalist” faction of the White House led by Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon and his allies outside, who accuse him of being anti-Israel and leading a purge of officials loyal to his predecessor Michael Flynn

He has also been criticised for renewing the security clearance for former President Barak Obama’s NSA Susan Rice, which is not unusual — McMaster has done the same for all living NSAs from previous administrations, as is the practice.