you're fired...maybe
October 25, 2020

Should President Trump win a second term, he plans on immediately firing FBI Director Christopher Wray, two people who have discussed the matter with Trump told Axios.

Trump is also expected to quickly replace CIA Director Gina Haspel and Defense Secretary Mark Esper. They aren't the only three people on the chopping block, the sources said, but they are at the top of the list. One official said Trump hasn't fired any of them because of the optics of doing so before the election.

Haspel and Wray do not have any fans in Trump's inner circle, Axios reports, with one person saying the "view of Haspel in the West Wing is that she still sees her job as manipulating people and outcomes, the way she must have when she was working assets in the field. It bred a lot of suspicion of her motives." As for Wray, Trump became enraged in September when the FBI director testified that there are no signs of widespread election fraud, despite Trump claiming otherwise.

Privately, Trump has complained about Attorney General William Barr, and he's never been too enamored with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, but there are no formal plans to remove them, Axios reports. In a statement, White House spokesman Judd Deere said, "We have no personnel announcements at this time nor would it be appropriate to speculate about changes after the election or in a second term." Catherine Garcia

November 12, 2018

Over the weekend, President Trump told advisers he wants Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen out as soon as possible, five current and former White House officials told The Washington Post on Monday.

He has complained about her for months and does not think she is doing a good enough job securing the borders, the officials said. Trump and Nielsen were supposed to visit troops stationed at the border in South Texas this week, but Trump canceled the trip.

People close to Nielsen said Trump gets frustrated when she tries to tell him about immigration laws and regulations, and he has berated her during Cabinet meetings. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who preceded Nielsen as DHS secretary, is Nielsen's biggest defender in the administration, and he's reportedly trying to either avert her dismissal or postpone it. Officials told the Post that Kelly's word doesn't mean much, because his future at the White House is also uncertain.

Trump has told White House aides that potential replacements for Nielsen include Kevin McAleenan, commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, or David Pekoske, administrator of the Transportation Security Administration, the Post reports. Catherine Garcia

April 10, 2018

In response to the FBI raid of his personal lawyer's home, office, and hotel room on Monday, President Trump is considering firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, several people with knowledge of the discussions told CNN.

After he heard about the raid targeting Michael Cohen, executed by the U.S. attorney's office for the Southern District of New York, Trump declared that it was a ruse and said he believed Special Counsel Robert Mueller was actually behind it, one person told CNN. Trump has complained that top officials at the Justice Department are not doing enough to protect him during Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, which Rosenstein oversees. Two officials said the raid might be the tipping point that pushes him to act, and if he's going to actually fire anyone, it would probably be Rosenstein.

Trump has been warned by at least one top Republican in Congress not to fire Rosenstein, a senior administration official said, but his legal advisers are telling him that they could argue there is a conflict of interest because Rosenstein is a potential witness in the Mueller investigation, having written a memo used to justify Trump's firing of former FBI Director James Comey last year. Read more about Trump's Rosenstein-induced rage at CNN. Catherine Garcia

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