The Toughest Job in Washington

3 minute read

New White House Chief of Staff John Kelly flexed his muscles in his new job Monday, making one of his first acts in office the firing of incoming communications director Anthony Scaramucci. The vulgar finance executive-turned-political assassin had already claimed Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer and Michael Short as scalps in the job. But his attacks on White House staff, constant self-promotion and direct line to the president proved to be incompatible for the man who now holds the toughest job in Washington at perhaps its most challenging moment. Kelly has been tasked with organizing a chaotic West Wing, where leaks and back-channel conversations with the boss have been rewarded instead of punished. In firing Scaramucci, Kelly showed that he has the president’s trust and the authority to force out even one of his preferred defenders. The big question is how long it will last. White House aides are saying all the right things about following Kelly’s lead, but will they in practice? When the going gets tough, will family, loyal aides, and outside advisors truly begin to run things through the new chief? And will Trump chafe under the more controlling chief of staff?

Trump reportedly drafted his son’s misleading statement on his meeting with a Russian lawyer. Putin misjudges Trump’s limits. And White House aides fall for an email hoax.

Here are your must reads:

Must Reads

Kelly Tries to Impose Order at the White House
Scaramucci’s firing is a positive sign for the new chief of staff—but will it last [TIME]

Trump Dictated Son’s Misleading Statement on Meeting With Russian Lawyer
Officials had denied he had a role [Washington Post]

White House Officials Tricked by Email Prankster
Top Homeland Security official, ousted communications director ensnared in hoax [CNN]

Vladimir Putin Doesn’t Understand the Limits of Donald Trump’s Power
TIME’s Simon Shuster on Putin’s miscalculation

Republicans Ignore Trump’s Obamacare Taunts
‘Until somebody shows us a way to get that elusive 50th vote, I think it’s over,’ one top GOP senator says. [Politico]

Sound Off

“General Kelly has the full authority to operate within the White House, and all staff will report to him.” — White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders on the new White House Chief of Staff

“I think Anthony wants General Kelly to be able to operate fully with a clean slate, build his own team, while at the same time, the President felt his comments were inappropriate. Those two things aren’t mutually exclusive.” — Sanders explaining why Scaramucci was fired

Bits and Bites

Kelly called Comey to express anger over firing, sources say [CNN]

Democrats snub new party message [Politico]

This is What Happened in Anthony Scaramucci’s 10 Days at the White House [TIME]

Kushner to Interns: Trump Team Too Disorganized to Collude With Russia [Foreign Policy]

The Mooch is Dead! Long Live the Mooch [Vanity Fair]

Jeff Flake: My Party Is in Denial About Donald Trump [Politico]

Kushner On Middle East Peace: “What Do We Offer That’s Unique? [Wired]

These Are the People With the Shortest Tenures in President Trump’s Administration [TIME]

White House Sanctions Venezuelan President After Election Adds Power to Ruling Party [Associated Press]

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