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drama
April 7, 2019

There is no love lost between President Trump and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who announced her resignation on Sunday.

Trump has long been frustrated with Nielsen, and vice versa, people with knowledge of the situation told NBC News. Nielsen became head of DHS in December 2017, and her biggest defender in the administration was her predecessor, former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly. Last May, it was reported that Trump berated her during a meeting, angry over the rising number of undocumented migrants crossing the southern border. Nielsen drafted a resignation letter, but chose not to submit it.

In November, just days after the midterm elections, Trump told advisers he wanted Nielsen out, The Washington Post reported. He allegedly didn't like it when she tried to talk to him about immigration laws and regulations, and would often complain that she wasn't tough enough. On Friday, there was more tension between the two when Nielsen found out that Trump had decided to withdraw the nomination of Ronald Vitiello as director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, without notifying Nielsen, a person close to the secretary told NBC News.

Kelly is now gone from the White House, and Nielsen doesn't have a lot of supporters in the administration. A senior official told CBS News that Trump's hardline adviser, Stephen Miller, is orchestrating an overhaul of the Department of Homeland Security, and Nielsen's departure is part of it. Throughout her tenure, Nielsen defended the administration's immigration policies, including separating families and shutting down the government in an attempt to get money for Trump's border wall. Catherine Garcia

April 1, 2019

Stephen Moore, President Trump's likely nominee for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board, has supporters in the White House who are able to look past his earlier financial and legal troubles, a senior administration official told The Wall Street Journal Monday.

There are two vacancies on the seven-member board, and last month, President Trump said he planned on picking Moore, a conservative commentator, for one of the seats. Since then, it's been reported that Moore owes the IRS $75,000; a judge found him in contempt of court for not paying his ex-wife spousal and child support; and he was fired from The Wall Street Journal's editorial board due to his questionable choices in speaking engagements. The White House continues to stand behind him, the official said, and nothing that has come out has changed anyone's opinion.

Last week, Moore's wife, Anne Carey, explained the $75,000 debt to the IRS as a filing error on his 2014 taxes involving a deduction for both alimony and child support payments; Moore was only allowed to deduct alimony. Over the weekend, The Guardian obtained court records showing that in November 2012, Moore was found in contempt of court for not paying his ex-wife $300,000 in spousal and child support and divorce settlement payments. In 2013, a judge ordered Moore to sell his house in Virginia to pay off the debt, but his ex-wife stopped this after he paid her two-thirds of what was owed.

Moore joined the Journal's editorial board in 2005, leaving in 2014 after a dispute with editorial page director Paul Gigot, people familiar with the matter told the Journal. Writers for the editorial page are prohibited from getting paid for speaking to nonprofit organizations, and Gigot became uneasy with some of Moore's speaking engagements, feeling they were entering partisan territory. "I told him he had to make a choice between politics and journalism," Gigot told the Journal. Read more about Moore's apparent missteps at The Wall Street Journal. Catherine Garcia

March 14, 2019

Olivia Jade Giannulli's spring break vacation in the Bahamas was interrupted on Tuesday with news that she was in the center of a nationwide college admissions bribery scandal.

Olivia Jade wasn't just hanging around on a dinghy, either — the 19-year-old YouTube personality was staying on billionaire developer Rick Caruso's luxury yacht, TMZ reported Wednesday, along with Caruso's daughter, Gianna, and their friends. Caruso told TMZ they headed down to the Bahamas well before authorities announced that Olivia Jade's parents — actress Lori Loughlin and clothing designer Mossimo Giannulli — stood accused of paying $500,000 in bribes to get her and her older sister into the University of Southern California.

Caruso, the chair of USC's Board of Trustees, said that "once we became aware of the investigation, the young woman decided it would be in her best interests to return home." Olivia Jade has not been charged with any crimes. Giannulli was arrested and posted bond Tuesday, and Loughlin, who was filming out of the country, returned to California and turned herself in on Wednesday; she has been released on a $1 million bond. Catherine Garcia

February 20, 2019

The son of Republican congressional candidate Mark Harris testified in front of the North Carolina State Board of Elections on Wednesday that he cautioned his father against hiring a political operative who used illegal tactics in earlier elections.

The Board of Elections is investigating allegations of voter fraud in November's election in the 9th Congressional District; the race is still undecided, with Harris leading Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes. John Harris, an assistant U.S. attorney in North Carolina, testified that he told his father that he believed political operative McCrae Dowless illegally collected absentee ballots while working for another Republican candidate in 2016. Despite his son's warning, Mark Harris hired Dowless for his 2018 campaign.

On Monday, Dowless' stepdaughter testified that he hired her to collect absentee ballots, and when she picked up a ballot that was unsealed or not fully filled out, she would mark the Republican candidates. John Harris said he has "no reason to believe that my father or mother knew Dowless was doing the things that have been described. I think they were lied to, and they believed the person who lied to them." Mark Harris, who has said he knew nothing about Dowless' tactics, is expected to testify on Thursday.

If the board decides that "irregularities or improprieties occurred to such an extent that they taint the results of the entire election and cast doubt on its fairness," a new election will be held. Catherine Garcia

January 23, 2019

No one at the White House expected House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to disinvite President Trump from giving this year's State of the Union address in the House chamber, so when she did, they clambered to come up with a way to respond, CNN reports.

Last week, Pelosi asked Trump to postpone the address until the government shutdown is over, so on Wednesday, White House staffers were prepared for her to just delay the speech, officials told CNN. Trump thought he had the upper hand when he sent her a letter pushing back against her concerns that it's not safe for him to deliver the State of the Union during the shutdown. Pelosi responded by sending Trump a letter informing him that "the House of Representatives will not consider a concurrent resolution authorizing the president's State of the Union address in the House chamber until the government has opened."

White House staffers are now scrambling to find a different venue, but running into issues everywhere they turn. Several officials are concerned that if Trump decides to give the State of the Union during a rally, it not only won't be covered by the networks, but Trump will go off track and start rambling about something else. There's talk that Trump should deliver the address from the Oval Office or another area in the White House, officials told CNN, but Trump was not a fan of the speech on immigration he gave in the Oval Office earlier this month, and judging by polls, voters weren't either. Catherine Garcia

December 20, 2018

There's been a twist in the saga of whether Matthew Whitaker, the acting attorney general, was told by ethics officials to recuse himself from overseeing Special Counsel Robert Mueller's inquiry into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Early Thursday, a senior Department of Justice official told The Washington Post Whitaker was told there's no need for him to step aside, but this person came forward later in the day to say that's actually not how it went down. Several other people familiar with the matter told the Post that a senior Justice Department ethics official did come to the conclusion that Whitaker should recuse himself, but his advisers told him he shouldn't, and he is following their advice.

Before becoming acting attorney general, Whitaker made several public statements critical of the probe. A Justice Department official told the Post Whitaker put together a team of advisers last month to explore whether he should recuse himself because of those comments and due to a friendship with Sam Clovis, a witness in the inquiry. Whitaker met several times with senior ethics officials, and on Tuesday, one told the group of advisers Whitaker should recuse himself in order to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. They didn't agree with this official, and told Whitaker on Wednesday he had no reason to recuse himself. Read more about the twists and turns at The Washington Post. Catherine Garcia

July 19, 2018

When Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats laughed during an interview at the Aspen Security Forum on Thursday, staffers back at the White House groaned.

Coats was onstage with Andrea Mitchell of NBC News, when she broke the news to him that the White House had announced the Trump administration invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to Washington this fall. He chuckled, and revealed he knew nothing about this, adding, "That's going to be special." He also told Mitchell he would have advised President Trump not to meet with Putin in Helsinki on Monday, especially with only two interpreters in the room with them.

Trump advisers were "in an uproar," staffers told The Washington Post, with one senior official saying, "Coats has gone rogue." They are concerned that Trump will view the incident as Coats laughing at him in a public arena, and he'll feel betrayed, since he flattered Coats during an interview Wednesday with CBS Evening News anchor Jeff Glor.

One White House staffer told the Post Coats' comments could bother Trump more than the scandals that swirled around former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, but a senior intelligence official said Coats gets along fine with Trump, and they are in regular communication. "For someone in the White House to criticize Dan Coats for speaking truth to power is unfair," the official said. Catherine Garcia

May 23, 2018

Outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is facing eroding support and confidence among his colleagues, who have reportedly floated the idea of replacing him before he retires, The Washington Post reports.

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney mentioned earlier this week that he has talked with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) about replacing Ryan in the next few months, and last week Ryan was abandoned by more than two dozen Republicans on a farm bill vote due to infighting over immigration.

With administration support also waning and the midterms looming, Politico's Jake Sherman tweeted: "The White House should find someone who can get 218 then." Rep. Scott W. Taylor (R-Va.) admitted he was "totally frustrated" with the divided GOP, but added "I'm not sure that's all on" Ryan. Jeva Lange

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