Sunday, February 12, 2017

Flynn, Priebus, Spicer possible casualties in Trump shakeup

"I would be worried if I was General (Michael) Flynn," says top aide to President Donald Trump




















Josh Dawsey and Alex Isenstadt report for Politico:

President Donald Trump, frustrated over his administration’s rocky start, is complaining to friends and allies about some of his most senior aides — leading to questions about whether he is mulling an early staff shakeup.

Trump has told several people that he is particularly displeased with national security adviser Michael Flynn over reports that he had top-secret discussions with Russian officials about and lied about it. 


The president, who spent part of the weekend dealing with the Flynn controversy, has been alarmed by reports from top aides that they don't trust Flynn. "He thinks he's a problem," said one person familiar with the president’s thinking. "I would be worried if I was General Flynn."

Yet Trump’s concern goes beyond his embattled national security adviser, according to conversations with more than a dozen people who have spoken to Trump or his top aides. He has mused aloud about press secretary Sean Spicer, asking specific questions to confidantes about how they think he’s doing behind the podium.

Others who’ve talked with the president have begun to wonder about the future of Chief of Staff Reince Priebus. Several Trump campaign aides have begun to draft lists of possible Priebus replacements, with senior White House aides Kellyanne Conway and Rick Dearborn and lobbyist David Urban among those mentioned. Gary Cohn, a Trump economic adviser, has also been the subject of chatter.

For now, Priebus remains in control as chief of staff. He was heavily involved in adviser Stephen Miller’s preparation for appearances on Sunday morning talk shows, which drew praise from the president.


If there is a single issue where the president feels his aides have let him down, it was the controversial executive order on immigration. 

The president has complained to at least one person about "how his people didn't give him good advice" on rolling out the travel ban and that he should have waited to sign it instead of "rushing it like they wanted me to." Trump has also wondered why he didn’t have a legal team in place to defend it from challenges.

The discussions come at a tense time for the Trump White House, which has endured a tumultuous start. The president, who can be hard on his staff, is known for orchestrating shake-ups when things aren’t going right. 


His campaign had several leadership changes, and such decisions, such as his late-summer elevation of Conway and Stephen Bannon, are often made by gut.

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