Bannon attended National Security Council meeting after his removal from top committee

Bannon attended a National Security Council meeting after his removal from its top committee

Shortly after the news broke Wednesday that top Trump advisor Steve Bannon had been removed from the National Security Council's principals committee, Bannon attended an NSC meeting in the White House situation room, according to a source familiar with the events.

On Wednesday morning, the White House confirmed that Bannon had been removed from the NSC's top committee, saying that the political advisor had been placed there in order to serve as a check on then National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who was himself removed from the job after less than 30 days in office. Flynn was replaced by H.R. McMaster as National Security Advisor, and the former Lt. General has been given broad latitude to shape the White House national security apparatus.

Steve Bannon removed from National Security Council in shakeup

CNN first reported the story on Wednesday.

"It was a new administration and it was a big philosophical thing we wanted to do" with Bannon on the NSC, the official said. "But now we've got McMaster in here, and he philosophically is going to do that."

Just hours after that official spoke those words, Bannon was back in the White House Situation Room, attending an NSC meeting on an unspecified topic.

"He is off the memo as a member of the principals committee," said the source familiar with Wednesday's meeting, "but the president or McMaster can invite him to attend at any time."

Asked why Bannon attended a meeting on the same day his departure was being announced, the source said, "He is one of the president's closest and most trusted advisors."

Asked whether Bannon would continue to regularly attend NSC meetings, the source said, "I don't know. It's going to be ad hoc, I think."

Controversial from the start

Bannon's role on the so-called principals committee of the NSC — Cabinet-level interagency group — was controversial from the start of the Trump administration.

On Wednesday, a senior White House Official asserted that Bannon had only been placed on the council to help "deoperationalize" the NSC in a bureaucratic restructuring and downsizing of the White House's national security apparatus.

CLARIFICATION: Steve Bannon was removed from the National Security Council's principals committee. That was not clear in an earlier version of this article.