Live

Watch CBSN Live

Kelly says Trump is "somewhat embarrassed" by Russia probe

Terms of Mueller's Trump interview?

White House chief of staff John Kelly said President Trump is "somewhat embarrassed" by the special counsel's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Asked if the investigation casts a "cloud" over the White House, Kelly told National Public Radio in a rare interview that aired Thursday night the probe "may not be a cloud" over the White House, but it does get discussed. 

"It may not be a cloud but certainly the president is, you know, somewhat embarrassed, frankly," Kelly said. "When world leaders come in, it's kind of like, you know, Bibi Netanyahu is here ... who's under investigation himself, and it's like, you know, you walk in, and you know, the first couple of minutes of every conversation might revolve around that kind of thing."

Asked about that comment after an event at the White House Rose Garden Friday, Mr. Trump said "distracted" would be a better descriptor than "embarrassed."

Kelly also talked about the Trump administration's efforts to fight illegal immigration. He says most people coming into the country illegally "are not bad people," but says they won't assimilate easily, calling them "overwhelmingly rural people."

Kelly, also told NPR that, despite "times of great frustration," he doesn't regret leaving his former post as secretary of homeland security and joining the White House. Kelly, asked if he ever seriously considered leaving his post, said simply, "No."

"In retrospect, I wish I had been here from day one," Kelly said. "I think in some cases in terms of staffing or serving the president that first six months was pretty chaotic and there were people some people hired that maybe shouldn't have."

The possibility of Kelly's departure has been floated for months, particularly after the saga involving former White House aide Rob Porter, who was accused of abusing his ex-wives. But Kelly is still there. Kelly told NPR he speaks his opinion on everything — even when the president doesn't listen.

"My view is to speak truth to power. I always give my opinion on everything. He always listens," he said. "Sometimes he takes the opinion, sometimes he doesn't."

View CBS News In