Trump’s pick to replace Flynn turns down national security offer

Retired Vice Admiral Robert Harward has turned down US President Donald Trump’s offer to replace Michael Flynn as national security adviser, according to a report.

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Harward was offered the job after Trump dismissed Flynn on Monday for misleading Vice President Mike Pence and other officials about his discussion of sanctions with the Russian ambassador before Trump took office.

Harward, a former deputy to Defense Secretary James Mattis, turned down the job offer in part because he did not receive sufficient assurances about staffing and autonomy, two sources familiar with Harward’s decision told Reuters.

That put him at odds with Trump, who had told Flynn’s deputy, K.T. McFarland, that she could stay.

At a news conference on Thursday, Trump appeared to praise Harward as “somebody that I think will be outstanding for the position.”

In a statement reported by CNN later in the day, Harward said that "since retiring, I have the opportunity to address financial and family issues that would have been challenging in this position."

Flynn’s ouster, and the circumstances leading up to it, has become a major crisis for the White House and has put the first significant strain on relations between the new administration and an increasingly restive Congress.

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