His opposition to the diplomatic effort in Afghanistan has irritated President Trump, these officials said, and led aides to leave the National Security Council out of sensitive discussions about the agreement.
The sidelining of Bolton has raised questions about his influence in an administration that is seeking a troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, as well as an ambitious nuclear deal with North Korea and potential engagement with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Bolton, U.S. officials said, stands in opposition to those efforts, but he does so increasingly from the periphery.
“It’s messed up on so many levels that the national security adviser isn’t involved, but trust is a real issue,” said a senior U.S. official, one of a half-dozen who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal conversations…
“I can’t think of another example where a national security adviser was sidelined like this,” said Tom Wright, an international security expert at the Brookings Institution. “One thing that makes this different from normal bureaucratic infighting is that Bolton has pitted himself against a policy the president clearly supports.”