WSJ: John Kelly expected to leave White House this summer; Trump searching for replacement

Rumors have been swirling for months over the expected departure of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and now that's reportedly expected to happen this summer, according to The Wall Street Journal, and possibly as soon as Friday or next week.

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The newspaper, citing anonymous White House sources, is reporting that President Donald Trump has been discussing a replacement for Kelly this week with his advisers, and that the two main contenders for the position are Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff Nick Ayers, and Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, who is also the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The White House has not confirmed the Journal's report.

Tensions between the president and Kelly have spilled out into the open in recent months with Kelly denying in early April that he called Trump "an idiot" after an NBC News report, citing unnamed sources, detailed comments Kelly made during a tense immigration-related meeting.

Explore>> Related: Chief of Staff John Kelly denies calling President Donald Trump ‘an idiot’ after NBC report

The network also reported at that time that Kelly, who took over as Trump’s chief of staff last July, said he needed to “save (Trump) from himself.”

Kelly called the report “another pathetic attempt to smear people close to President Trump.”

Possible problems between the two men began in January after accusations that former staff secretary Rob Porter abused two ex-wives. Kelly first defended Porter and questioned the ex-wives' allegations until pictures surfaced of one of the women with a black eye. The incident put the White House vetting process under a spotlight after information that Porter was not vetted properly and had not received top-secret security clearance was leaked to the public.

Explore>> Related: Who is Gen. John Kelly, President Donald Trump’s Chief of Staff

Kelly was appointed chief of staff a year ago, taking over for Reince Priebus to help bring order to a tumultuous West Wing and Oval Office. He first started in the Trump administration in January 2017 as secretary of Homeland Security.

Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

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