Incoming White House chief of staff John Kelly was reportedly furious about the way President Trump abruptly fired FBI director James Comey in May.
Two sources told CNN that Kelly was so upset by the dismissal of Comey that he called the longtime law enforcement official and told him he was considering resigning from his position as secretary of Homeland Security.
Both sources with knowledge of this conversation said Comey and Kelly are not friends but have a mutual respect for each other as professionals. They also told CNN that they were not sure how serious Kelly was about actually resigning at the time.
“John was angry and hurt by what he saw and the way [Comey] was treated,” one source told CNN.
According to the report, Comey took the call while traveling from Los Angeles to Washington and urged Kelly not to quit.
Kelly was sworn in to replace Reince Priebus as White House chief of staff on Monday. Trump had announced on Friday that Kelly would fill this position.
Comey’s dismissal was hugely controversial because of his role in the investigations of former secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server and Russia’s interference with last year’s presidential election.
The latter involves the allegation that Trump’s campaign colluded with officials from Moscow. Comey later testified before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that Trump attempted to interfere with the bureau’s investigation into Russia.
News of the alleged Kelly-Comey conversation broke around the same time that the White House announced Anthony Scaramucci would no longer be communications director — a title he held for just 11 days. In that time, he made his biggest impression by giving a profanity-filled interview to the New Yorker.
At the press briefing late Monday afternoon, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Kelly will bring new structure, discipline and strength to the administration.
“We’re all really excited to work with him,” she said. “Gen. Kelly has the full authority to carry out business as he sees fit.”
Earlier Monday morning, as all this White House chaos was bubbling to the surface, Trump had somewhat inexplicably tweeted that there was in fact “No WH chaos!”
Highest Stock Market EVER, best economic numbers in years, unemployment lowest in 17 years, wages raising, border secure, S.C.: No WH chaos!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 31, 2017
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