White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien is moving quickly to shrink and reshape his staff – rattling some nerves already frayed by the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

The changes at the National Security Council are both sweeping and minute: several dozen policy roles will be eliminated as staffers return to their home agencies or leave government in the coming two months; at least two NSC divisions are being phased out completely; a third, meanwhile, has been handed off to a separate White House-based group.

Trump aides insist that shrinking the NSC has nothing to do with impeachment, despite concerns on the left that Trump is trying to root out potential leakers and whistleblowers. Rather, the officials say, it’s about improving efficiency in government and a response to long-standing Republican concerns about the growth of the NSC.

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