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story.lead_photo.caption National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster pauses during a briefing at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, May 16, 2017. President Donald Trump claimed the authority to share "facts pertaining to terrorism" and airline safety with Russia, saying in a pair of tweets he has "an absolute right" as president to do so. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is replacing national security adviser H.R. McMaster with the former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, injecting a new foreign policy voice into his administration ahead of key decisions on Iran and North Korea.

Trump tweeted Thursday that McMaster has done "an outstanding job & will always remain my friend." He said Bolton will take over April 9.

Bolton will be Trump's third national security adviser. Trump has clashed with McMaster, a respected three-star general, and talk that McMaster would soon leave the administration had picked up in recent weeks.

His departure follows Trump's ouster of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson last week. It also comes after someone at the White House leaked that Trump was urged in briefing documents not to congratulate Russian President Vladimir Putin about his recent re-election win. Trump did it anyway.

In a statement released by the White House, McMaster said he would be requesting retirement from the U.S. Army effective this summer, adding that afterward he "will leave public service."

The White House said McMaster's exit had been under discussion for some time and stressed it was not due to any one incident.

Bolton has served as a hawkish voice in Republican foreign policy circles for decades. He met with Trump and White House chief of staff John Kelly in early March to discuss North Korea and Iran. He was spotted entering the West Wing earlier Thursday.

Bolton has served in the Republican administrations of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush and served as a Bush lawyer during the 2000 Florida recount.

A strong supporter of the Iraq war and an advocate for aggressive use of American power in foreign policy, Bolton was unable to win Senate confirmation after his nomination to the U.N. post alienated many Democrats and even some Republicans. He resigned after serving 17 months as a Bush "recess appointment," which allowed him to hold the job on a temporary basis without Senate confirmation.

Tension between Trump and McMaster has grown increasingly public. Last month, Trump took issue with McMaster's characterization of Russian meddling in the 2016 election after the national security adviser told the Munich Security Summit that interference was beyond dispute.

"General McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians and that the only Collusion was between Russia and Crooked H, the DNC and the Dems," Trump tweeted Feb. 17, alluding to frequent GOP allegations of impropriety by Democrats and Hillary Clinton.

Tillerson's exit also forecast trouble for McMaster, who had aligned himself with the embattled secretary of state multiple times.

McMaster told The New York Times last year that Trump's unorthodox approach "has moved a lot of us out of our comfort zone, me included."

The military strategist, who joined the administration in February 2017, has struggled to navigate a tumultuous White House. Last summer, he was the target of a far-right attack campaign, as conservative groups and a website tied to former Trump adviser Steve Bannon targeted him as insufficiently supportive of Israel and not tough enough on Iran.

McMaster was brought in after Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was dismissed after less than a month in office. White House officials said he was ousted because he did not tell top advisers, including Vice President Mike Pence, about the full extent of his contacts with Russian officials.

Read Friday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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  • BoudinMan
    March 22, 2018 at 5:54 p.m.

    Bolton, it seems, has somehow come squirming out of the muck and mire. The thought of Bolton and trump teaming up for national security should give every sound thinking American the shakes.

  • RBear
    March 22, 2018 at 6:15 p.m.

    Trump is moving from the adults in the room to the raging kids with these swaps. It's like he wants to see how much he can get away with, kind of like Putin in Russia. No wonder he admires Putin.

  • mozarky2
    March 22, 2018 at 7:55 p.m.

    BM, that should give every "prog" the shakes. President Trump couldn't have picked a better person for the job.
    Adults in the room, RB? Listen to the Fainting Felon's speech in India, and recall that you voted for her. Hard for me to believe you criticize President Trump's demographic after YOU made such an egregious mistake...
    Can you honestly rationalize your vote for her?

  • RobertBolt
    March 22, 2018 at 8 p.m.

    All the fantasies about surrounding Trump with capable military advisors to rein him in is fading in light of their ineffectiveness.

  • RBear
    March 22, 2018 at 8:27 p.m.

    moz, compared with Trump absolutely. I'm amazed at all the idiots like yourself who voted for Trump and continue to support him. As I said, NORMAL people don't behave that way.

  • skeptic1
    March 22, 2018 at 8:32 p.m.

    Excellent choice, the idiotic comments here show how woefully uninformed the Obama/Hillary/Pelosi lemmings are. Bolton has stayed very engaged in national security as a consultant and is highly respected worldwide. Many of Trumps initial appointments were business and personal connections, understandable since he had no government connections. Now after a year and half of being president he knows who he needs and is not afraid to make those choices. We have serious issues ahead with South Korea, Iran, and China...Trump is doing a good job of lining up key players that are proven in national security and defense. You lemmings. after you donate your tax refunds to Bernie, can continue to wallow in your Trump derangement syndrome while the rest of us enjoy our new sense of confidence and prosperity we have not seen for a very long time/ And. we don't have to apologize for being an American proud of our country.

  • PopMom
    March 22, 2018 at 8:47 p.m.

    I suspect McMaster was fired because he leaked to the press that our President congratulated Putin even though he had been told that it was inappropriate for an American president to bow to a vicious foreign dictator. McMaster served admirably, and I am sorry to see him go. I know that he will be vindicated when the truth about Trump's relationship with Putin is revealed.

  • DontDrinkDatKoolAid
    March 22, 2018 at 9:44 p.m.

    CommunistMom, President Obama congratulated Putin once, for winning reelection.
    skeptic1, great post.

  • PopMom
    March 23, 2018 at 5:17 a.m.


    When you have your opponents murdered or kept off the ballot, it really is not an "election."

  • RBear
    March 23, 2018 at 5:19 a.m.

    Ah, the neophytic ignorance of DDDK. Different times and different relationship. When Obama congratulated Putin, there was not the level of interference we have now from Russia in our nation. There were opportunities to improve relations. The message to Trump now is in light of a more aggressive Russia who has proven to be a major adversary.
    Your attempt to make a point shows more your lack of international relations than anything.