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Steven Senne / AP

Booting Mooch was the easy part — hardly a fair fight for a four-star general.

Kelly is an almost perfect lab test of whether a Trump White House can be functional. He has all the ingredients to succeed: He's been granted unprecedented authority (for Trump), he's revered by all internally and has no dog in the factional wars in the West Wing. If he fails, we'll know this White House is truly ungovernable.

Here are five factors that'll help determine how the history books (and imagine how many there'll be!) treat White House Chief of Staff John Kelly:

  1. Can he attract hefty new talent? (And how long can he keep the few gems that he has?) One of the corners this White House has painted itself into is the inability to get sane, successful, proficient Republicans to join the Trump show, either to fill vacant slots or as replacements in the coming wave of departures (which happens after Year 1, regardless of who is president).
  2. Can he engineer a big Hill win? Kelly is experienced in working the Senate from his days as the Marine Corps commandant's legislative assistant (2004-07), and he 's going to find extreme unhappiness with this White House's approach to policy, messaging, strategy and tactics.
  3. Can he shield POTUS from Mueller? We're going to have document and interview requests, perhaps pleas of the Fifth by people close to Trump. The special counsel has a rich new vein to exploit with today's WashPost front-pager (denied by Trump's legal team): "Flying home from Germany on July 8 aboard Air Force One, Trump personally dictated a statement in which Trump Jr. said that he and the Russian lawyer had 'primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children.'"
  4. Can he mobilize this thinly staffed, inexperienced administration for a genuine crisis? The fact that there hasn't been a transcendent national security event, at home or abroad, is a miracle that can't last. With the military provocation by North Korea and the diplomatic aggression by Russia, he may get his chance quickly.
  5. Can he restrain President Trump from petty tussles, pointless tweets and random self-indulgences? Kelly has certainly marked his territory. But Trump is the ultimate boss. And as we've been telling you for a year: If there's one guy who's not changing, it's the 70-year-old billionaire with his name on the building.

Be smart: People in the room tell me that Kelly's first test will be when something bad happens and POTUS wants to react, when he'd be better off holding his fire.

Keeper quote ... An eternal Trump truth, tweeted post-Mooch by Maggie Haberman: "There are two types of non-family members in Trumpworld. Permanents & instruments. Sometimes instruments mistakenly think they're permanents."

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Go deeper

Scoop: Garland defends DOJ's handling of Jan. 6 probe

Attorney General Merrick Garland. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Attorney General Merrick Garland will tell the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday that federal prosecutors "are doing exactly what they are expected to do" in seeking accountability for the "intolerable assault" on the Capitol on Jan. 6, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Allies of former President Trump, including Republican congressmen, have criticized the department's treatment rioters charged with crimes, and sought to recast the insurrection as a righteous protest. Garland's testimony with be his first appearance before the panel.

Updated 49 mins ago - World

Police charge man with murder of British MP David Amess

Police outside Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, England, on Oct. 15. Photo: John Keeble/Getty Images

Police said Thursday that Ali Harbi Ali, a 25-year-old British man, has been charged with the murder of David Amess, a Conservative Party lawmaker in the U.K.

The big picture: Last week, the Metropolitan Police declared the fatal stabbing a terrorist incident, saying that they had found "a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism."

54 mins ago - Health

Pfizer booster has 95.6% efficacy against COVID, large study shows

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

A booster shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 95.6% effective against the coronavirus, compared with those who only had the first two initial doses, according to a large study released Thursday.

Why it matters: The study, which had more than 10,000 participants aged 16 and older, is the first controlled, randomized trial looking at boosters and their effectiveness, the companies said.