Bolton was national security advisor in name only. His predecessors have all used the role differently depending on their personal styles and the presidents whom they served. But successive NSAs have still agreed that certain core responsibilities come with the job, including running a dynamic, high level interagency process. This process—in which the NSA solicits the views of relevant members of the national security team—is used to provide recommendations to the president on national security issues.

This requires endless hours in the situation room engaging with other members of the national security council, from the secretary of state and secretary of defense to the secretary of the treasury and chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. It also requires coordination with the intelligence community so that all members of the national security council, and the president, are operating from the same sheet of music…

Bolton dropped the ball on this important process. Early in his tenure, we learned that he had significantly scaled down critical national security council meetings, and the paucity of these “Principals Committee” meetings were worrying members of Trump’s cabinet.