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Trump is stacking the Pentagon and the Intel agencies with loyalists. To what end?

Kashyap Patel, Anthony J. Tata and Ezra Cohen-Watnick – three aides whose promotions were announced in a Pentagon statement on Tuesday – are considered highly ideological Trump infantrymen. Mr Patel has long tried to discredit investigations into Russian interference, Mr Tata’s appointment was withdrawn over the summer in part because he had called President Barack Obama a “terrorist leader” and Mr. Cohen-Watnick was quietly relaxed from the National Security Council in 2017 after clashes with Lt. Gen. HR McMaster, then a national security adviser.

The three are believed to lack the stature to intimidate General Mark A. Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, or General Kenneth F. McKenzie, Chief of Army Central Command, to launch operations, whether open or secret, against Iran or other adversaries during the final days of Mr. Trump’s presidency.

And a senior official close to Christopher C. Miller, the new acting defense secretary appointed on Monday, said it was clear from Mr. Miller’s meetings with Mr. Trump that the president was deeply hesitant to launch offensive military operations because of its mandate. coming to an end. This is not what his political base seeks, and it runs counter to Mr. Trump’s calls to pull troops out of so-called eternal wars in countries like Afghanistan and Iraq.

In a meeting at the White House, Mr. Trump’s message to Mr. Miller, the official said, was to do nothing new or provocative.

When jobs are opened in the dying days of an administration, they are usually filled by Members of Parliament, whose sole responsibility is to keep the wheels of government running at least until the day of the inauguration.

It was a sign of the change in atmosphere that when James H. Anderson, an expert in military strategy and missile defense, left the Pentagon after being fired from the No. 3 position – Acting Under Secretary for Policy – he was “applauded” or applauded by the officials lined up in the corridors. A report on Twitter from William Kristol, the Conservative commentator who opposed Mr. Trump, said the white house asked “for the names of all political candidates who have joined so they can be fired.”

It is possible, according to some officials, that what is going on is nothing more than a resume filling, allowing some of Mr. Trump’s loyalists to claim that they have held high-level positions, albeit briefly. , or cement some policy changes before Mr Biden can take office and seek to reverse them.

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