Trump gives National Security Council seat to ex-Breitbart chief Steve Bannon

President also gives Priebus access to sensitive meetings while partially excluding defense chiefs and requesting strategies to defeat Isis 

Alan Yuhas/The Guardian – Saturday 28 January 2017 22.49 EST

President Donald Trump granted controversial adviser Steve Bannon a regular seat at meetings of the National Security Council on Saturday, in a presidential memorandum that brought the former Breitbart publisher into some of the most sensitive meetings at the highest levels of government.

Trump and Putin discuss ‘partnership’ on issues including Ukraine, Kremiln says – READ MORE

The president named Bannon to the council in a reorganization of the NSC. He also said his chief-of-staff Reince Priebus would have a seat in the meetings.

Trump also said the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and the director of national intelligence, two of the most senior defense chiefs, will attend meetings only when discussions are related to their “responsibilities and expertise”. Barack Obama and George W Bush both gave the men in those roles regular seats on the council.

In an interview with the New York Times this week, Bannon called the press “the opposition party” and said it should “keep its mouth shut”. He has previously described himself as “a Leninist” and an “economic nationalist”.

Before he caught the ear of Trump while the businessman was a candidate, Bannon oversaw Breitbart news, a website that has featured racist and sexist articles. Like Trump, he entered government with no experience in public service.

Also on Saturday, Trump ordered a lifetime ban on administration officials lobbying for foreign governments and a five-year ban for domestic lobbying, in an executive order signed on Saturday.

The US president also signed executive memorandums on the reorganisation of the National Security Council and the formation of a new plan to defeat the Islamic State.

During his presidential campaign, Trump promised to “drain the swamp” of Washington, which he depicted as a city rife with unscrupulous lobbyists and corrupt career politicians.

Since election day he has drawn criticism, however, by relying on lobbyists to advise his transition team, by stocking the government with potential conflicts of interest, and by refusing to divest or publicly account for his own ethics risks.

“So this is a five-year lobbying ban, and th