Aides Urge Trump to Expel Russian Envoys Over UK Attack

President Donald Trump’s advisers are poised to recommend that he expel some Russian diplomats from the U.S. in response to the nerve-agent poisoning of a former Russian spy living in the U.K., a person familiar with the matter said.

The advisers reached the preliminary recommendations at a National Security Council meeting on Wednesday and honed them on Friday in a gathering that included Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, according to two people familiar with the meeting.

Trump has not made a decision and is unlikely to do so before next week, one of the people said.

A battle within the White House over how to best address the provocations of Russian President Vladimir Putin has been intensifying. The internal divisions flared this week after Trump congratulated Putin on his recent re-election without first reviewing written guidance that he not do so, a person familiar with the matter said.
Trump has been reshaping his national security staff. On Thursday, he announced the departure of National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, who favored a tougher public posture toward Putin, and announced that he would replace him with John Bolton, a former ambassador to the United Nations known for his hawkish views. That move came just a week after the president fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who also took a more combative stance toward Russia, and nominated Mike Pompeo, the CIA director, to replace him.

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