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Bolton leaned on ex-lobbyist fired from Trump’s transition team to build NSC: report


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National Security Adviser John Bolton leaned on a former lobbyist who was fired from President Trump's transition team to build the National Security Council (NSC), according to a report from Politico.

Sources told the outlet that Bolton consulted Matthew Freedman, a consultant with extensive foreign policy experience, while building the the council earlier this year. According to Politico, Freedman played a key role in the job applicants' interview process before Bolton officially assumed his post.

Another source told Politico that Freedman's involvement with the job applicants was limited to taking part in "listening sessions" rather than in a formalized interview setting.

NSC spokesman Robert Palladino confirmed that Friedman weighed in on job candidates.

"Ambassador Bolton received over 500 resumes from applicants seeking to join his team on the National Security Council," Palladino told Politico.

"Consulting with trusted colleagues, such as Mr. Freedman and Dr. Kupperman, not only makes practical sense, it also makes strategic sense," he continued, referencing Charles Kupperman, a friend of Bolton's who joined the NSC.

The Hill reached out to the White House for further comment.

Freedman's involvement could point to signs the Trump administration has not fulfilled President Trump's campaign promise of "draining the swamp" in Washington, DC.

His work on the president's transition team focused in on the NSC before he was fired for reportedly using his own consulting firm email address to coordinate meetings with other transition team officials.

Freedman also has a history of working for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who has been indicted as a part of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russian election meddling.

Politico reports he did lobbying work for countries such as Bahamas, Barbados, Dominican Republic, St. Lucia, Nigeria and Peru, and that he represented Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

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