John Kelly Questioned by Mueller's Team

Mark Wilson  Getty Images John Kelly

CNN and Axios were first to report on Friday that Trump and Kelly's personal relationship had fizzled out this week, claiming the two hadn't spoken in at least two days.

CNN reported last month that Trump was considering potential replacements for several senior positions in his administration as part of a post-midterms staff shakeup.

White House officials believed Kelly was close to resigning after he got into a heated shouting match with national security adviser John Bolton in October.

Nick Ayers, the 36-year-old chief of staff to the vice-president, Mike Pence, has been named by a number of reports as a likely successor.

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However its important to note the president had nothing but praise for his chief of staff, during a private White House event held Friday night, and that none of the rumors have been confirmed.

Known through the West Wing as "the chief" or "the general", the retired Marine Corps four-star general was tapped by Trump via tweet to try to normalize a White House riven by infighting and competing power bases. Vanity Fair reported in 2017 Kelly's discipline put a strain on his relationship with Trump and cited an unnamed source who said Trump and Kelly were "fighting a lot". Trump had previously said Kelly would stay until 2020. "Trump's chief of staff is Trump and always will be".

Both the attorney general and United Nations ambassador positions require Senate confirmation.

But the story line of Kelly's departure has been protracted for so many months that White House aides often now just shrug. "We will be announcing who will take John's place". Investigators reportedly wanted to know about reports that Trump had attempted to fire the special prosecutor.

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