Report: Pentagon looking for alternative positions for McMaster


The Pentagon is considering options that would allow President Donald Trump to transfer National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster from his role in the White House back to a military position after months of rising tensions between McMaster and the commander in chief, half a dozen defense and administration officials told CNN.

The officials said the Pentagon is quietly searching to see if there is a four-star military job appropriate for the three-star general. The potential change comes after months of personal tension between the president and McMaster. However, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders came to the general's defense Tuesday, saying Trump "still has confidence in General McMaster."

Officials say the preference is to transfer McMaster to a position in the Army or Department of Defense, which would qualify as a promotion, but some officials at the Pentagon worry the general has become too politicized in the Trump administration and are concerned about him returning to a prominent military role. Additionally, other officials say the president may not offer him a fourth star and force him to retire, CNN reported.

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National Security Adviser Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster
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National Security Adviser Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster
Newly named National Security Adviser Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster listens as U.S. President Donald Trump makes the announcement at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida U.S. February 20, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump announces his new National Security Adviser Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster (L) at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida U.S. February 20, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Newly appointed National Security Adviser Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster listens as U.S. President Donald Trump makes the announcement at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida U.S. February 20, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with his new National Security Adviser Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster after making the announcement at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida U.S. February 20, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump departs the room after announcing his new National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster (L) who receives a handshake from newly named chief of staff of the National Security Council Gen. Keith Kellogg (C) at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida U.S. February 20, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with his new National Security Adviser Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster after making the announcement at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida U.S. February 20, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
White House National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster (C) and Chief Strategist Steve Bannon (L) attend a joint news conference between U.S. President Donald Trump and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 12, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
White House National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster delivers a statement to reporters at the White House in Washington, U.S. May 15, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
White House national security advisor H.R. McMaster (L) arrives with Press Secretary Sean Spicer (R) to speak to reporters in the White House briefing room in Washington, U.S., May 16, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
White House senior advisor Jared Kushner (2nd R) looks on as Lockheed Martin Chairman and CEO Marillyn Hewson (L) exchanges agreements with a Saudi official after a signing ceremony between Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and U.S. President Donald Trump at the Royal Court in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 20, 2017. Also pictured are White House national security advisor H.R. McMaster (L), chief economic advisor Gary Cohn (3rd R) and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus (R). REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump walks to Marine One with National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster as they depart for a day trip to Miami from the White House in Washington, U.S., June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
U.S. President Donald Trump eats Belgian chocolate flanked by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (L) and National security adviser H.R. McMaster react as they eat Belgian chocolate during their meeting with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel in Brussels, Belgium, May 24, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
White House National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster joins White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (unseen) for the daily briefing, to address sanctions on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro , at the White House in Washington, U.S. July 31, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
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There was talk of first ousting McMaster last fall, but officials in the White House were worried of how appointing a third national security adviser in less than a year would look to the public. McMaster replaced Michael Flynn after Flynn resigned amid controversy over his contact with Russian officials a month after assuming his position. Flynn was indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and subsequently plead guilty to charges he lied to investigators.

Officials familiar with the situation don't think the general's job is any safer now than it was in the fall, however, saying it's been at risk for months. The senior Republican with knowledge of the White House told CNN McMaster is "safe until he's not."

Copyright 2017 U.S. News & World Report

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