Some of the people described the staff cuts as part of a White House effort to make its foreign policy arm leaner under new National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien.
The request to limit the size of the NSC staff was conveyed to senior agency officials by acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and O’Brien this week. The whistle-blower complaint, focused on Trump’s conduct in a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has been followed by damaging reports on the president’s private conversations with other world leaders.
The New York Times has reported that the whistle-blower was a CIA officer who was at one point detailed to the White House. The complaint has become the driving motivation behind House Democrats’ impeachment effort, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi began last week.
Two of the people familiar with the decision to shrink the NSC insisted it was largely rooted in both the transition to O’Brien’s leadership as well as Trump’s desire to increase efficiency at the agency, which grew under former President Barack Obama. About 310 people currently work at the NSC.
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