Trump 'Horrified' John Kelly by Attacking Rosenstein and Mueller: Report
White House chief of staff John Kelly was "horrified" when President Donald Trump lashed out at the Justice Department leadership and the special counsel on Monday in response to a raid on the office of his personal attorney Michael Cohen, according to a new report from CNN.
At a meeting to discuss the latest chemical attacks in Syria and the American response, Trump criticized Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Robert Mueller over the raid to the press. CNN cited the incident as evidence that Kelly, a former Marine general, has been completely unable to tame the president and instill a sense of order in the White House.
When he was first brought on at the White House last year, many hoped he might be a more competent chief of staff that his predecessor Reince Priebus. But Trump kept tweeting and continued the erratic behavior he's known for, and Kelly found himself enmeshed in a series of scandals earlier this year, the most notable of which was sparked by his decision to retain staff secretary Rob Porter despite allegations of spousal abuse.
"Ironically, the chaos he was brought in to quell may serve to bolster Kelly's standing," reporters Kaitlin Collins and Kevin Liptak write at CNN. "Even as Trump has considered overhauling his staff, including weighing whether Kelly should go, various crises have served to put off the decision."
Previous reports suggested Trump may even decide to eliminate the chief of staff position entirely and replace Kelly with four subordinates who all report directly to the president.
This may already be happening. Vanity Fair's Gabriel Sherman says that the newly hired national security adviser John Bolton and economic adviser Larry Kudlow report directly to the president, cutting Kelly out entirely.
While Trump is likely reluctant to dismiss Kelly for fear of feeding the narrative that his administration is in disarray, it's difficult to see what purpose the chief of staff serves in a White House that increasingly operates independently of him.