The Latest: White House pushes back against rumors of exodus

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on reports of turmoil in the West Wing (all times local):

4:15 p.m.

The White House is pushing back against whispers of a staffing purge and insisting that reports of tumult and imminent departures are overblown.

Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Friday that chief of staff John Kelly had assured a group of staffers that their jobs were safe, at least for now.

But days after President Donald Trump’s secretary of state was ousted, many close to the president think more upheaval is coming soon.

Four people with knowledge of White House deliberations say Trump is moving toward replacing national security adviser H.R. McMaster but has not settled on exact timing or a successor. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss internal matters.

The futures of Kelly and Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin are also unclear.

— AP writers Jonathan Lemire, Catherine Lucey and Jill Colvin contributed to this report.


2:55 p.m.

President Donald Trump’s chief of staff has “reassured” presidential aides that no staff shakeup is imminent.

That’s according to presidential spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Friday. She told reporters during the daily White House briefing that John Kelly told aides earlier in the day that there are “no immediate personnel changes at this time and that people shouldn’t be concerned.”

She added, “We should do exactly what we do every day and that’s come to work and do the very best job we can.” Sanders said the message was relayed to other administration staffers who weren’t present for Kelly’s meeting.

Trump himself stoked anxiety about a shakeup Thursday when he said he expects turnover and wants new ideas. He fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson via Twitter this week.


1:30 a.m.

President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser resigned over a policy dispute, the secretary of state he long clashed with was fired and a slew of top aides headed for the exits.

But the president is privately weighing more changes, expressing frustration with certain advisers and considering possible replacements.

Four people with knowledge of White House deliberations say the president is moving toward replacing National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, but has not settled on exact timing or a successor. Confidants of the president say Chief of Staff John Kelly has also worn on the president. And Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, under fire for ethics violations, appears to be grasping to keep his job.

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