According to Israeli media, the US president will be joined by senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, the architect of the US Middle East peace plan; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; National Security Adviser Richard O’Brien; lead negotiator Avi Berkowitz; and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, who will reportedly fly back to Washington on Sunday following tête-à-têtes with Netanyahu and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz.
According to Channel 13, participants at the meetings on Monday and Tuesday will include Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Adviser Richard O’Brien, Avi Berkowitz, Assistant to the President and Special Representative for International Negotiations and Jared Kushner, Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, in addition to the US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, who will fly in from Jerusalem.
White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien said Sunday that the Trump administration will not assume control of the National Guard amid protests erupting over the death of George Floyd.
“We’re not going to federalize the Guard at this time,” O’Brien told reporters at the White House, according to Reuters.
White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien on Wednesday criticized China’s response to the coronavirus as a cover-up and said that Beijing cost the global community two months to respond to the outbreak.
„Unfortunately, rather than use best practices, this outbreak in Wuhan was covered up,“ O’Brien said in remarks at the Heritage Foundation. „There’s lots of open source reporting from Chinese nationals that the doctors involved were either silenced or put in isolation … so the word of this virus could not get out.“
“It does seem to be a contradiction. He’s telling Laura Ingraham [about imminent attacks], but in a 75-minute classified briefing, your top national security people never mentioned this to members of Congress. Why not?” Wallace asked O’Brien on “Fox News Sunday.”
“I wasn’t at the briefing, and I don’t know how the Q&A went back and forth. Sometimes it depends on the questions that were asked or how they were phrased,” O’Brien said.
Esper also said the so-called Gang of Eight, the top members of Congress’s intelligence committees, did not believe further intelligence on Iran should be shared with Congress.
Esper told CBS’s Margaret Brennan he spoke to one of the officials who briefed the Gang of Eight and that “his assessment was most if not all the members thought the intelligence was persuasive and that the Gang of Eight did not think it should be released to the broader members of Congress.”
But the United States also sent secret messages through Swiss intermediaries urging Iran not to respond so forcefully that Mr. Trump would feel compelled to go even further. After it did respond, firing 16 missiles at bases housing American troops without hurting anyone as a relatively harmless show of force, a message came back through the Swiss saying that would be the end of its reprisal for now. The message, forwarded to Washington within five minutes after it was received, persuaded the president to stand down.
O’Brien was celebrating the holidays in Pasadena, California, more than two thousand miles from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. Other key aides including Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney consulted with the president remotely, but a government jet was dispatched to fetch O’Brien and bring him to Palm Beach for the strike on Qassam Soleimani.
Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a meeting with reporters Friday that Soleimani was killed after U.S. officials recently became aware of intelligence that showed the “size, scale, scope” of what he was planning, which led them to conclude that there was a greater risk in not taking action than in doing so.
President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that no lives were lost after Iran fired ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases housing U.S. and coalition forces overnight. Trump said the U.S. would add new sanctions on Iran, but seemed to seek de-escalation. Meanwhile, Trump and his advisers are facing more pressure to provide justification for the airstrike that assassinated Iranian Gen. Soleimani. Senators and congressmembers found a Wednesday intelligence briefing to be wholly insufficient.
The role of national security adviser does not require Senate confirmation.
O’Brien will be Trump’s fourth national security adviser in less than three years. He follows Michael Flynn, H.R. McMaster and Bolton.