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Tom Bossert in the White House briefing room. Photo: Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Tom Bossert, White House homeland security advisor, is resigning, the White House confirmed Tuesday.

Context: Bossert's departure isn't the biggest one to hit the White House in recent weeks, but it adds to the accumulated momentum of exits, sense of turmoil, and transition. This is an especially uncertain moment for a White House in flux on multiple counts: policy, personnel, and Trump’s own mood towards the Russia investigation. The president is now seriously flirting with firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller and every new change adds to anxiety levels among current staff.

The White House statement: “The President is grateful for Tom’s commitment to the safety and security of our great country," said Press Secretary Sarah Sanders. "President Trump thanks him for his patriotic service and wishes him well.”

The backstory, per Axios' Jonathan Swan: Senior staff were initially worried about former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn and thought somebody was needed to "keep an eye on him." Bossert was partly brought in to fulfill that role and focus more on domestic terrorist threats — but it never worked out that way as Flynn was gone in a matter of weeks. H.R. McMaster's entrance further essentially stripped Bossert of his terrorism work. Bossert ended up playing an important role on natural disasters, but that was a very different job than what he was brought in to do.

  • Bossert also didn't have much of a relationship with the president until last summer's hurricanes — on which he briefed Trump. POTUS thought he did a good job and, for the most part, was good on TV, but Bossert wasn't a staffer who spent a lot of time in the Oval Office. 

A source who's worked with Bossert in the White House tells Swan: "His primary role ended up being the point person responding to the natural disasters, of which there were many. He invested a lot of time, effort and energy in that."

  • "[W]hen McMaster came in he essentially took away [Bossert's] counter-terrorism portfolio. He never lost the title but in reality he was frustrated with the fact that whole half of his portfolio got taken away."
  • Bossert also tried to lead efforts on cyber security, which never fully came to fruition, thanks to a huge interagency process.

Go deeper

Updated 13 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus variant surveillance varies widely by state — Omicron cases confirmed in 5 U.S. states America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine — Pfizer could have vaccine data for children under five by end of 2021, CEO says.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate — Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come.
  4. World: WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming — Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Prosecutors charge parents of Michigan school shooting suspect

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The parents of a 15-year-old accused of killing four students and wounding seven other people at a Michigan high school have been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter, according to court documents.

The latest: Lawyers for James and Jennifer Crumbley told the Detroit News they are "returning to the area to be arraigned," after law enforcement officials announced a search for the Crumbleys had been initiated.

10 hours ago - World

Putin to demand legal guarantee against NATO expansion in call with Biden

Biden and Putin meeting in Geneva in June. Photo: Mikhail Metzel\TASS via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin is demanding a legally binding guarantee that NATO will not expand east — including to Ukraine — and plans to raise the issue in an upcoming phone call with President Biden, according to the Kremlin.

Why it matters: Russia has massed more than 94,000 troops on the border with Ukraine and could be preparing for a large-scale invasion at the end of January, Ukraine's defense minister said Friday.