February 15, 2017

CHATTER: Harward emerges as front-runner to replace Flynn following talks.

Vice Adm. Robert Harward, a former deputy commander of the U.S. Central Command, became the front-runner late Monday to replace Michael Flynn as the White House national security adviser, following lengthy discussions among top advisers to President Trump and several Cabinet members after Flynn resigned.

Harward’s rapid ascension to the top of Trump’s three-person shortlist for the position was confirmed by two White House officials who were not authorized to speak publicly.

Vice President Pence has been leading the discussions and working closely with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Homeland Security Security John F. Kelly, CIA director Mike Pompeo, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, the officials said.

Harward served under Mattis while he was at U.S. Central Command and remains an ally and friend of the defense secretary.

The Mattis-Harward connection would smooth out what looked like was going to be a dangerously rocky relationship between Defense and D.I.A.