Washington (CNN) - It's still unclear whether President Barack Obama had made up his mind before sitting down Wednesday with Gen. Stanley McChrystal, but CNN has learned that during their one-on-one meeting, Obama gave the general a chance to defend himself.
"The president asked him about the article," said a senior administration official, referring to a Rolling Stone magazine article containing comments from McChrystal and his staff that appear to mock top civilian officials,
including the vice president.
"He [McChrystal] tried to explain the situation," the official said.
That senior administration official, who briefed reporters, gave this backstory:
Once Obama accepted McChrystal's resignation, he wasted no time finding his replacement. After McChrystal walked out of the White House following his 30 minute face-to-face meeting with the president, the president immediately huddled with a team of advisors to decide who would replace McChrystal.
That group included Vice President Joe Biden, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, National Security Advisor Jim Jones and Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. For 45 minutes, they mulled over the president's options.