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A New National Security Advisor, the Death of a U.N. Ambassador: The Weekend Behind, the Week Ahead

Catch up on the top news stories you may have missed this weekend.

By , a global affairs journalist and the author of The Influence of Soros and Bad Jews.
churkin
churkin

The ever-evolving ensemble that is President Donald Trump’s national security team evolved again on Monday. Trump announced Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster will be his new national security advisor. He will replace Michael Flynn, who resigned after withholding information on contact with Russian officials from Vice President Michael Pence.

Trump’s first choice to replace Flynn, retired Adm. Robert Harward, reportedly turned down the job when he couldn’t hire his own staff. Trump promised McMaster a freer hand over hiring, but the new national security advisor will have to crack Trump’s tight-knit inner circle to gain influence.

One other item of note: In a White House seeking rapprochement with Russia, McMaster has been hard at work studying the military threat Russia poses to the United States.

The ever-evolving ensemble that is President Donald Trump’s national security team evolved again on Monday. Trump announced Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster will be his new national security advisor. He will replace Michael Flynn, who resigned after withholding information on contact with Russian officials from Vice President Michael Pence.

Trump’s first choice to replace Flynn, retired Adm. Robert Harward, reportedly turned down the job when he couldn’t hire his own staff. Trump promised McMaster a freer hand over hiring, but the new national security advisor will have to crack Trump’s tight-knit inner circle to gain influence.

One other item of note: In a White House seeking rapprochement with Russia, McMaster has been hard at work studying the military threat Russia poses to the United States.

Meanwhile, Russia has been left reeling not only from Flynn’s departure, but from the death of its ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said her department had lost “a great diplomat and a loved one.” Samantha Power, who, as former U.S. ambassador to the UN, often found herself diplomatically opposed to Churkin, tweeted that she was “devastated” by the death of Churkin, whom she described as a “diplomatic maestro” and “deeply caring man.” Russian media outlet TASS shared a collection of his most memorable quotations on its Facebook page.

Russian media is considerably less dedicated these days to covering Trump. A new study shows that, over the past two weeks, Russian television has slashed its Trump coverage to a quarter of what it was during the halcyon days of the courtship.

And in France, National Front leader Marine Le Pen is in hot water. On Monday police searched the party’s headquarters in connection with allegations that the party misspent European Union funds. The allegation is that the funds were taken to pay for European parliament assistants but in fact went to party aides.

Le Pen is running for president and has said that, if elected, she will hold a referendum over France’s membership in the EU. But her electoral momentum could be checked by any police investigation.

Hate crimes continue apace on the homefront: Jewish community centers across the country were evacuated after 11 bomb threats, and a Jewish graveyard in St. Louis was vandalized. While Trump himself refused to address concerns about rising anti-Semitism when asked twice about it last week, his daughter Ivanka did send out a tweet urging tolerance.

Photo credit: KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images

Emily Tamkin is a global affairs journalist and the author of The Influence of Soros and Bad Jews. Twitter: @emilyctamkin

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