Donald Trump may have lost one of his best protections against impeachment, with a report claiming that Chief of Staff John Kelly has given up trying to cover Trump politically.
Kelly had been seen as an important force in the White House, taking over for Reince Priebus and instituting a tight control over Trump’s actions and his schedule. Kelly was seen as bringing a higher level of discipline to a president who tends to make decisions on the fly — and often without consulting his staff — but now may be backing away. A report this week from Politico noted that the relationship between Trump and Kelly has fallen apart, with the chief of staff no longer taking steps to keep the president protected.
A source told Politico that Kelly also seems resigned to the idea that Trump will ultimately be impeached for his actions in the White House.
“But Kelly’s status in the White House has changed in recent months, and he and the president are now seen as barely tolerating one another,” the report noted. “According to four people close to Kelly, the former Marine general has largely yielded his role as the enforcer in the West Wing as his relationship with Trump has soured. While Kelly himself once believed he stood between Trump and chaos, he has told at least one person close to him that he may as well let the president do what he wants, even if it leads to impeachment — at least this chapter of American history would come to a close.”
This is not the first report to claim that tensions are rising between Donald Trump and John Kelly. A previous report from NBC News claimed that Kelly has privately called Trump an “idiot” in mocking his lack of understanding of policy and political matters.
There were more reports this week of tension between Trump and Kelly, who reportedly opposed Trump’s decision to sign an executive order this week ending the policy of separating immigrant children from their parents.
Some reporting: Trump startled aides this AM by demanding an executive order. John Kelly clashed with him, saying it wasn't legal & to leave to Congress. Top lawyer Don McGahn had concerns. Frenzy. Trump said he would sign before leaving. Will it work? https://t.co/ZmqsNPqP8N
— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) June 21, 2018
If John Kelly had any control over preventing Donald Trump’s impeachment, the president would be losing it at the worst possible time. Last week, former campaign manager Paul Manafort was thrown in jail after Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation lodged new charges that he tampered with witnesses. With Manafort facing the possibility of spending decades behind bars, there is increasing speculation that he will turn on Donald Trump and cooperate with Mueller’s investigation, Newsweek noted. This could ultimately lead to charges against Trump and possibly impeachment.