Trump says he’ll decide on security adviser in few days

MELBOURNE: President Donald Trump would interview four candidates for the position of US national security adviser on Sunday and make a decision in the coming days. Trump will interview acting adviser Keith Kellogg, former US ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, Lieutenant General H R McMaster and Lieutenant General Robert Caslen, White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.“I’ll make a decision over the next couple of days,” Trump told reporters later on Air Force One. He said he was leaning towards one of the candidates he was interviewing on Sunday. Trump, who has been searching for a new national security adviser after firing his first one, Michael Flynn, could add a couple more candidates to the list, Spicer said.
Retired general and former CIA chief David Petraeus is no longer a candidate. The retired four-star general, who resigned as head of the CIA in 2012 after it was revealed he was having an affair with his biographer, had been on a short list for the job after Flynn was let go. Spicer said Trump’s finalists include Kellogg, Bolton, Caslen, who is the superintendent of the US Military Academy at West Point, and McMaster, who holds a senior post with the US Army Training and Doctrine Command. Former US National Security Agency head Keith Alexander, and former Army chief of staff Ray Odierno were also thought to be in contention for the job.
Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security has prepared new guidance for immigration agents aimed at speeding up deportations by denying asylum claims earlier in the process. The new guidelines, contained in a draft memo dated February 17 but not yet sent to field offices, directs agents to only pass applicants who have a good chance of ultimately getting asylum, but does not give specific criteria for establishing credible fear of persecution if sent home. The guidance instructs asylum officers to “elicit all relevant information” in determining whether an applicant has”credible fear” of persecution if returned home, the first obstacle faced by migrants on the US-Mexico border requesting asylum.
Sources familiar with the drafting of the guidance said the goal of the new instructions is to raise the bar on initial screening. The administration’s plan is to leave wide discretion to asylum officers by allowing them to determine which applications have a “significant possibility” of being approved by an immigration court, the sources said. — Reuters