Earlier this month, Mr. Trump called reports that McMaster was on his way out “fake news.”
McMaster’s departure was essentially reported to have been a fait accompli by last week by CBS News chief White House correspondent Major Garrett. Like ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, McMaster had never really developed a strong relationship with the president.
Some White House staff rejected suggestions they had misled the public about McMaster’s status. At the same time, they maintained the decision to remove him had been long in coming and was not a response to Tuesday’srelated to Trump’s phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, a disclosure that had generated considerable criticism and fresh speculation that McMaster was in trouble.