New York (CNN)Just months into his presidency, a small circle of senior White House advisers met with Donald Trump about a carefully curated list containing the names of dozens of perceived political opponents, particularly leakers, working inside the government. A detailed account of the meeting was revealed for the first time to CNN by two former senior administration officials, who said that the April 2017 gathering included then senior strategist Steve Bannon and former national security adviser H.R. McMaster. After being shown the list, the President told McMaster to deal with it, according to one of the officials. McMaster and Bannon walked away from the meeting with different interpretations of Trump’s instructions, according to the two former officials and two other former senior officials in the President’s orbit who were briefed on the conversation. Three of the officials told CNN that Bannon understood Trump wanted people fired, while the fourth said that McMaster believed the President’s direction was to deal with leaks in a systematic fashion, rather than a mass firing. Read More The political plotting in the early days of Trump’s presidency provides a window into a three-year effort by Trump and his loyalists to identify and expunge suspected… Read full this story
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