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Trump lists top five possible replacements for Bolton as national security adviser

Trump says he has 15 candidates to replace John Bolton

President Trump is considering five people to replace ousted national security adviser John Bolton, he told reporters aboard Air Force One on Tuesday. 

The president named Robert O'Brien, Ric Waddell, Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, Fred Fleitz and Keith Kellogg, offering particularly glowing words for Kellogg, who is currently Vice President Mike Pence's national security adviser. 

"I love Keith Kellogg. Keith Kellogg he's been with me from the beginning," Mr. Trump said. "He's great." 

The president also noted he likes Waddell, an assistant to the president and a deputy national security adviser, "a lot." Mr. Trump made the comments aboard Air Force One en route to a two-day fundraising trip in California. 

O'Brien is the U.S. special presidential envoy for hostage affairs; Gordon-Hagerty is the under secretary for nuclear security of the U.S. Department of Energy; and Fleitz is the CEO of the Center for Security Policy and a former chief of staff on the National Security Council. 

Last week, after Bolton's departure, the president said he would announce Bolton's replacement this week, although deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley on Tuesday said he wasn't sure when that would take place. The president at one point said he had as many as 15 candidates for the position

"A lot of people want the job. It's a great job. It's a lot of fun to work with Donald Trump. It's easy because I make all the decisions," Mr. Trump said Saturday. 

Bolton's abrupt departure left an acting national security adviser in place as tensions in the Middle East heat up. Mr. Trump stopped short of blaming Iran for the recent drone strike against Saudi oil facilities, although Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has unequivocally said the attack was carried out by Iran. Pompeo is heading to Saudi Arabia soon with a team to get to the bottom of what happened, Mr. Trump told reporters Monday. Mr. Trump says he's "not looking" at response options right now.

"Well, we have a lot of options but I'm not looking at options right now. We want to find definitively who did this," Mr. Trump said during a meeting with the crown prince of Bahrain. "We're dealing with Saudi Arabia, we're dealing with the crown prince and with so many of your neighbors. And we're all talking about it together, we'll see what happens."

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