Sarah Westwood at the Washington Examiner reports that President Donald Trump is considering the nullification of the Iran nuclear deal in October, some days or weeks ahead of the next scheduled 90-day certification of Iran’s compliance with the deal.
In an interview with the Washington Examiner, former Deputy Adviser to the President Dr. Sebastian Gorka said that Trump wanted to terminate the deal before the previous 90-day certification, but left it intact because his national security advisers had not presented him with an “adequate path” to withdrawal. Gorka and Chief Strategist Steve Bannon then departed from the White House before they could present the president with a plan of action drafted by former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton at Bannon’s request.
(Note: Gorka and Bannon were both part of Breitbart News before joining the Trump White House, while Bolton is a regular guest on Breitbart News Daily. Since leaving the White House, Bannon has returned to his role as executive chairman of Breitbart News.)
From the Washington Examiner:
“Last time, he didn’t do it because he hadn’t been given an adequate path, the scenario hadn’t been provided to him” to decertify the deal, Gorka said.
But soon after Trump requested a draft plan to dismantle the Iran deal, Gorka said he and another top aide tasked with overseeing the creation of the plan, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon left the West Wing and were unable to pass on their findings to the president.
“Those options were never presented to him because of Steve’s resignation and my resignation,” Gorka said.
Bannon had enlisted the help of at least one outside adviser to give Trump options should he choose to exit the Iran deal.
John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, wrote in a late August memo published in National Review that Bannon had approached him shortly after the most recent recertification and asked him to prepare a “game plan” for withdrawing from the JCPOA.
“[S]taff changes at the White House have made presenting it to President Trump impossible,” Bolton wrote of his Iran deal withdrawal plan. “Although he was once kind enough to tell me ‘come in and see me any time,’ those days are now over.”
The October benchmark will be the first recertification to occur without Bannon and Gorka, two strong opponents of the JCPOA, on the president’s team.
Gorka said he was unsure if anybody left in the West Wing is pushing for a full decertification of the Iran deal. But he noted Trump will ultimately make his own decision, regardless of their counsel.
“I think the president is an army of one,” Gorka said. “My prediction is the president will not want to recertify.”
Read the rest here.