Dec 28, 2017

Scoop: White House reshuffle expected in new year

Trump departs the White House for Florida. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

There's an operational reshuffle coming at the top level of the White House. Senior Trump administration official Johnny DeStefano is set to assume greater responsibilities and influence, including overseeing the beleaguered White House political operation.

What's coming: Two sources with direct knowledge of the internal deliberations say DeStefano is expected to assume most of deputy chief of staff Rick Dearborn's responsibilities. Dearborn is expected to leave the White House sometime in the new year.

The backdrop: There's been an intense focus recently on the performance of the White House political shop in general and its leader Bill Stepien in particular. We were first to report in detail about the widespread concerns about the operation's performance; and WashPo and others reported on a recent tense meeting in the Oval Office that climaxed with Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski eviscerating Stepien.

Details of the reshuffle:

  • DeStefano, a Capitol Hill veteran and former leadership aide, is expected to take charge of the Office of Public Liaison — the White House's outreach to interest groups — and is expected to maintain his role overseeing personnel appointments across the administration.
  • DeStefano is also expected to lead the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs — making him responsible for maintaining the White House's relationships with state legislators, governors, tribal leaders, mayors, and other political leaders across the country.
  • The move makes DeStefano one of the administration's key point people to the wider Republican universe.
  • DeStefano did not respond to a request for comment.

I'm told one role of Dearborn's that DeStefano is less likely to take is overseeing Marc Short's Office of Legislative Affairs. Short is expected to report directly to Chief of Staff John Kelly.

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