WASHINGTON DC – U.S. President Donald Trump's Chief of Staff John Kelly is on his way out of the White House.
Sources led by CNN on Friday were projecting Kelly would depart within days, possibly as early as this weekend.
In fact on Saturday afternoon, before departing from the White House on Marine One, U.S. President Donald Trump confirmed his chief of staff will be leaving at the end of the year.
Kelly, who replaced Reince Priebus as chief of staff last summer, according to CNN is not on speaking terms with the president. The chief of staff is also offside with National Security Advisor John Bolton, with the pair having a heated row in October.
CNN says Nick Ayers, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff, is seen as a leading candidate to replace Kelly, although it may be on a temporary basis as he is keen to return home as he has a young family.
"John Kelly will be leaving, I wouldn't say retiring. He's a great guy. John Kelly will be leaving at the end of the year," Mr Trump told reporters in his remarks before boarding Marine One at the White House Saturday afternoon.
"We will be arranging who will be taking John's place, it might be on an interim basis. I'll be announcing that in the next day or two, but John will be leaving at the end of the year" the president said.
"He's been with me more than two years now, between the two positions, so we are probably going to see him in a little while, but John Kelly will be leaving at the end of the year, and I appreciate his service very much."
At the same time as rumours were circulating about Kelly's ouster, Trump on Friday announced that former Fox & Friends anchor Heather Nauert, who has no experience as a diplomat, will be nominated as the next U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations to replace Nikki Haley.
He also named a replacement for former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Mr Trump says he is nominating William Barr, who served as attorney general under President George H.W. Bush, a quarter century ago, in the early 1990s. Mr Barr has been supportive of Mr Trump on a number of issues including the president's firing of former FBI Director James Comey. He has also expressed in the past concerns about the FBI not digging more closely into the Hillary Clinton emails incidents.
"I want to confirm that Bill Barr, one of the most respected jurists in the country, highly respected lawyer, former attorney general under the Bush administration, a terrific man, a terrific person, a brilliant man. I did not know him until recently, when I went through the process of looking at people. And he was my first choice from day one. Respected by Republicans and respected by Democrats. He will be nominated for the United States attorney general," Trump said on Friday morning at the White House.
"And hopefully that process will go very quickly, and I think it will go very quickly. And I've seen very good things about him, even over the last day or so when people thought that it might be Bill Barr. So Bill Barr will be nominated for the United States Attorney General position. I think he will serve with great distinction."
"I also want to inform you that Heather Nauert, somebody that we know very well, who has done a great job at working with Mike Pompeo and others over at the State Department, Heather Nauert will be nominated. She's going to work with Nikki Haley to replace Nikki at the United Nations. She'll be ambassador to the United Nations. She's very talented, very smart, very quick, and I think she's going to be respected by all. So Heather Nauert will be nominated for the ambassador to the United Nations," Mr Trump said.