Cohen-Watnick Strikes Again?

Alex Brandon/AP
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Buzzfeed reported this morning that multiple sources claim that National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster called President Trump an “idiot” and a “dope” in a private dinner with Oracle CEO Safra Catz. McMaster also criticized Steve Bannon, Rex Tillerson and said presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner has no business being involved in national security issues at all. According to Buzzfeed, Catz told one source “[the conversation was so inappropriate that it was jaw-dropping.”

Now, let’s stipulate that the President is a dope, many of his top aides are dopes and Jared Kushner has no business being in any position in government at all.

But there’s a detail here that seems pretty germane to understanding the story.

McMaster was brought in to clean up the Mike Flynn mess and over time he fired most or maybe now all the Flynn loyalists as his power in the job grew. Public reports suggest that his biggest and most consistent antagonist was a Flynn protege named Ezra Cohen-Watnick, a guy who seems to have worked with Rep. Devin Nunes in Nunes’ ‘unmasking’ escapade. McMaster tried to fire him shortly after he took over from Flynn but was blocked by Kushner and Bannon.

Finally, in early August, McMaster canned Cohen-Watnick.

So where did Cohen-Watnick land after finally getting bounced from the National Security Council? Funny you’d ask! He went to work in the DC office of Oracle.

To be clear, this doesn’t mean the report is not true. I suspect something like it is true. It may be verbatim true. Who knows? But you will not convince me that Cohen-Watnick’s now working in a high level position Oracle’s DC office (which is to say it’s lobbying office) is not directly related to this story coming about. Indeed, I’m surprised the Cohen-Watnick feud and his current employment at Oracle did not come up in the Buzzfeed article.

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Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.
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