Stories by Alayna Treene

Deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel ousted from White House

White House deputy national security adviser, Mira Ricardel, is leaving the White House "to transition to a new role within the Administration," Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement on Wednesday.

The backdrop: Almost everyone in the White House has come to loathe Ricardel, and that tension came to a head on Tuesday when first lady Melania Trump called for her removal, saying Ricardel "no longer deserves the honor" of holding her position. White House aides told Axios' Jonathan Swan that Ricardel will likely be eased into another role "far, far, away from the West Wing."

Reality check: Trump is wrong to compare Mueller and Whitaker

Donald Trump points his fingers at reporters while speaking on the South Lawn of the White House
President Donald Trump speaks to the press before departing the White House for Paris. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump is using Robert Mueller's lack of Senate confirmation to defend his decision to name Matt Whitaker as his acting attorney general.

Reality check: Axios spoke with several legal experts and former DOJ officials about the legality of Whitaker's appointment, and they told us that the key difference between Mueller and Whitaker is the seniority of their current positions, which makes Trump's attempt to compare their lack of Senate confirmation irrelevant.

Why Trump could face legal challenges over Whitaker

Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker speaks to reporters.
Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker. Photo: Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

President Trump's decision to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions with Matthew Whitaker is facing new questions, with two prominent attorneys — including the husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway — suggesting that it may be illegal.

Why it matters: Axios spoke to multiple legal experts and former Justice Department officials who say they can't remember a similar case where someone not confirmed by the Senate has been named as acting attorney general. They have different interpretations of the laws, but they agree that the naming of Whitaker is in uncharted legal territory and leaves room for challenges to the legality — and constitutionality — of Trump's actions.

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