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White House shake-up: Chief of staff John Kelly may also be on the way out, sources say

Trump could fire more top staffers
White House turmoil intensifies as Trump could fire more top staffers 03:17

A shake-up that some at the White House are preemptively calling a purge is coming. It could take down a chief of staff, a national security adviser, and up to three Cabinet secretaries, reports CBS News chief White House correspondent Major Garrett. It all depends on President Trump's volatile mood and available, willing replacements.

"We're coming back and doing it more so than we've ever done before. We're setting records," Mr. Trump said Wednesday in St. Louis, touting what he called record-setting economic progress.

But the turnover of top aides at his White House has also made history. So far, in the 14 months of his presidency, more than 20 senior administration staffers have either been fired, resigned or reassigned.

The next to go could be National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster, expected to be replaced by former Bush administration official and frequent Fox News analyst John Bolton. Bolton is a hawk on Iran and North Korea, like new secretary of state nominee and current CIA chief Mike Pompeo.

The man brought in last summer to impose order in the White House, chief of staff John Kelly, may also be on the way out, according to congressional and administration sources.

And Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin could be forced out, with Energy Secretary Rick Perry in line to replace him.

In February, the VA inspector general determined Shulkin used taxpayer dollars on a lavish trip to Europe for his wife. Mr. Trump joked about firing Shulkin last summer.

"It will be properly implemented, right David? It better be David, or [mouths "you're fired"]. We'll never have to use those words on our David," Mr. Trump said.

Sources said secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson is also in jeopardy, after purchasing a $31,000 dining room set for his office. The order was eventually canceled.

The president's new chief economist, CNBC commentator Larry Kudlow, gave an interview in which he disagreed with Mr. Trump on tariffs and NAFTA. "We mustn't shoot ourselves in the foot," Kudlow said.

Kudlow, who will replace Gary Cohn, last served in government in 1985. He asked Cohn -- himself a novice -- for a quick refresher course.

"I said, 'Gary, this is a really dumb question, but look, what do you do? What's your day like? What do you do?"' Kudlow said.

There are conflicting interpretations of Attorney General Jeff Sessions' job security. Long a target of the president's scorn, Sessions may be replaced by EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, though other sources say Sessions may survive because a confirmation battle over his replacement would be too drawn out.

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