U.S. Defence Secretary Jim Mattis is blocking former Ambassador John Bolton from taking over as National Security Advisor, Cockburn has learned.

John Bolton was first reported as heir apparent to McMaster by The National Interest in January. McMaster was nearly ousted from the White House summer of last year, ostensibly by a faction lead by former White House Chief Strategist Stephen K. Bannon. Though the White House officially denied his political demise on Thursday, this time McMaster’s position is far more precarious.

NBC News reported earlier in the day Thursday that McMaster was to be imminently replaced—with Ford executive and Bush 43 alum Stephen Biegun, as Bolton was vetoed by Mattis—sending the American capitol aflutter. Biegun’s candidacy was first reported earlier in the week by controversial “New Right” journalist Jack Posobiec.

Bolton is still favored by many on the Trumpist Right, including Mike Cernovich, who lashed out at the Biegunnews Thursday evening. “Trump wants Bolton to replace McMaster. Deep state wants Biegun, who works at Soros think tank,” said Cerno.

Others, those less interventionist on the Right, were happy to see McMaster, in favor of the status quo in Afghanistan and Syria and überhawkish on North Korea, likely head for the exits. But upon digging into Biegun’s background – there are more than a few concerns. He was on the National Security Council from 2001 to 2003, during the run-up to the war in Iraq and the subsequent invasion, and has been described as an early supporter of the intervention.

Meanwhile, Bolton seems to be lashing out, as he has been wont to do. He complained in 2017 of being denied contact with the president, only to regain those privileges again. In his previous semi-exile, Bolton penned a plan for decertifying the Iran deal in National Review. In Thursday’s Wall Street Journal, Bolton has penned the “the legal case for striking North Korea first.”