And of course we could ask whether one of them is leaking since either might be protected by Trump. Kelly appears to have McMaster's back, so if he's leaking that will get airbrushed before the DoJ leak squad gets any new lists out of this White House. Anyway sure looks like McMaster's got a rabbi in Kelly. Meanwhile the tempers are heating up amongst the nationalists, who are angry that a bunch of hard-liners have been booted from the National Security Council. McMaster tried to fire one of them previously, but Bannon was said to have stepped in and prevented it at the time, plus Kushner apparently also thought the guy should stay. Kushner has apparently shifted gears and so now the redoubtable Ezra Cohen-Watnick is off the NSC and so are threee other Flynn/Bannon anti-globalist types. White House Purging Michael Flynn Allies From National Security Council Mr. Cohen-Watnick’s resignation was announced by the White House late Wednesday. “General McMaster appreciates the good work accomplished in the N.S.C.’s intelligence directorate under Ezra Cohen’s leadership,” a spokesman said in a statement. “He has determined that, at this time, a different set of experiences is best suited to carrying that work forward. General McMaster is confident that Ezra will make many further significant contributions to national security in another position in the administration.” His departure follows several others last month. Tera Dahl, the deputy chief of staff at the N.S.C. and a former writer for Breitbart News, which was run by Mr. Bannon before he joined the White House staff, left for a post at the United States Agency for International Development. Later in the month, in separate developments, Derek Harvey, the top Middle East adviser, and Rich Higgins, the director of strategic planning, were each pushed out. Mr. Higgins was forced out after writing a memo arguing that Mr. Trump was being subverted by an array of foreign and domestic enemies, including globalists, bankers, officials of the “deep state,” Islamists and those questioning interactions between Trump campaign officials and Russia, according to a report in The Atlantic magazine. All four officials were considered Trump allies who shared the antiglobalist views of Mr. Flynn and Mr. Bannon. General McMaster, whose relationship with the president has been strained at times, has long wanted to remove the pro-Flynn hard-liners from his staff. First to go was K. T. McFarland, a former Fox News analyst, who was pushed out as deputy national security adviser in May and nominated to be ambassador to Singapore. Gotta love that last bit there. The alternative to keeping your friends close and former FauxSnooze friends even closer is to nominate one of the latter for a stay on embassy row, but half a world away. Moving right along on the speculation of whose long knives have the upper hand at the moment, looks like Kelly has primed Trump to make that pretty clear. Trump Defends McMaster Against Calls for His Firing President Trump defended Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, his embattled national security adviser, on Friday in the face of a full-bore campaign by the nationalist wing of his political coalition accusing him of undermining the president’s agenda and calling for his dismissal. General McMaster has angered the political right by pushing out several conservatives on the national security staff and cautioning against ripping up the nuclear agreement with Iran negotiated by President Barack Obama without a strategy for what comes next. His future has been in doubt amid speculation that Mr. Trump might send him to Afghanistan. But after two days of unrelenting attacks on General McMaster by conservative activists and news sites, complete with the Twitter hashtag #FireMcMaster, the president weighed in to quash such talk. “General McMaster and I are working very well together,” he said in a statement emailed to The New York Times. “He is a good man and very pro-Israel. I am grateful for the work he continues to do serving our country.” The nationalists (with a little help on social media from the Russian government!) had gone full bore hashtag #FireMcMaster on Twitter before that little set speech got made. I would say, in considering the uproar and then considering both Trump's remarks and those of Kushner, Mr. Bannon's fortunes are somewhat in decline at this moment in the ongoing battle between nationalists and mainstream Republicans in the government: The ferocity of the attacks coming from the faction of the party allied with Stephen K. Bannon, the president’s chief strategist, had General McMaster’s associates convinced that it was no coincidence. At one point on Friday, Breitbart News, formerly run by Mr. Bannon, had close to a dozen headlines on its home page about General McMaster, like “McMaster ‘Deeply Hostile to Israel and to Trump.’” The #FireMcMaster hashtag was tweeted more than 50,000 times since Wednesday. Echoing the drumbeat were social media organs tied to the Russian government. According to the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a bipartisan group created to focus attention on Russian interference in the West, the top hashtag among 600 Twitter accounts linked to Russian influence operations at one point on Thursday was #FireMcMaster. White House officials defended General McMaster, saying that he has faithfully reflected the president’s views, not tried to impose his own. They noted that he was heavily involved in drafting a speech Mr. Trump gave in Warsaw describing Western civilization as at risk, an address applauded by nationalist supporters. “General McMaster is a true public servant and a tremendous asset for the president and the administration,” Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, said in an email. “He has created and oversees a very thorough and clear process for the agencies to work together to give the president credible options to advance the president’s priorities for America’s foreign policy.” Mr. Kushner’s defense was important because he had protected Mr. Cohen-Watnick for months. But White House officials said Mr. Kushner acquiesced to the general’s decision to remove him several weeks ago.