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Fast Forward

Kushner and Bannon Agree: Ezra Cohen-Watnick Must Stay

At 31, Ezra Cohen-Watnick is one of the most powerful people in the National Security Council.

Just how powerful is he?

According to a wide ranging profile published in the Atlantic, Cohen-Watnick’s standing is so strong that an attempt by national security adviser H. R. McMaster to fire the young analyst was blocked by President Trump’s top advisers.

Furthermore, Cohen-Watnick emerges as one of the few people in Washington who enjoy the backing of both Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner, the two rivaling forces surrounding Trump. Kushner and Bannon both stood up together to McMaster when he sought to dismiss Cohen-Watnick and managed to derail his plan. Kushner even provided the Atlantic with a a rare on-record quote praising Cohen-Watnick, stating that “Ezra is deeply thoughtful, hard working, and committed to serving the president.”

According to the article, one of the forces shaping Cohen-Watnick’s worldview was conservative thinker and activist David Horowitz. As a student at the University of Pennsylvania, Cohen-Watnick was involved in the Terrorism Awareness Week, inspired by Horowitz.

Cohen-Watnick gained national attention after he reportedly provided intelligence information to Devin Nunes, the Republican chair of the House Intelligence Committee.

Contact Nathan Guttman at guttman@forward.com or on Twitter @nathanguttman

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