Former Defense Secretary and CIA director Robert Gates said it was “a big mistake” for President Trump to downgrade the status of the director of national intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the National Security Council. “They both bring a perspective and judgment and experience … that every president – whether they like it or not – finds useful,” Gates, a Wichita native, said on ABC’s “This Week.” An executive order issued by Trump on Saturday said that the two leaders would attend the NSC’s Principal Committee meetings only when “issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise are to be discussed.” The order also gave Trump senior adviser and chief strategist Steve Bannon a seat at those meetings. – Phillip Brownlee
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