John Kelly in the White House in July 2017. Photo: Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Former White House chief of staff John Kelly defended James Mattis on Thursday after President Trump attacked the former defense secretary as "the world's most overrated general" and claimed on Twitter that he was fired.

What he's saying: “The president did not fire him. He did not ask for his resignation,” Kelly told the Washington Post in an interview. “The president has clearly forgotten how it actually happened or is confused."

  • "The president tweeted a very positive tweet about Jim until he started to see on Fox News their interpretation of his letter," Kelly added. "Then he got nasty. Jim Mattis is a honorable man."

The big picture: Mattis made headlines on Wednesday by condemning President Trump for making a "mockery of our Constitution," writing in a blistering statement that he was "appalled" at the president's response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

  • Trump tweeted on Wednesday evening in response: "Probably the only thing Barack Obama & I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated General. I asked for his letter of resignation, & felt great about it."

Go deeper: Read Mattis' full statement

Go deeper

House Judiciary Committee releases transcript of Geoffrey Berman testimony

Geoffrey Berman. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The House Judiciary Committee on Monday released the transcript of its closed-door interview with Geoffrey Berman, the former top federal prosecutor in Manhattan who was forced out by Attorney General Bill Barr last month.

Why it matters: House Democrats have seized on Berman's testimony, in which he claimed the attorney general sought to "entice" him into resigning so that he could be replaced by SEC chairman Jay Clayton, to bolster allegations that the Justice Department has been politicized under Barr.

The nationwide K-12 tipping point

Photo: Karen Ducey/Getty Images

The doors of public schools are swiftly slamming shut for many Americans ahead of this next school year.

Driving the news: Los Angeles and San Diego are starting out online-only this fall, forcing 825,000 students to learn with a laptop.

Updated 48 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 12,995,037 — Total deaths: 570,435 — Total recoveries — 7,157,634Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 3,341,838— Total deaths: 135,425 — Total recoveries: 1,006,326 — Total tested: 40,282,176Map.
  3. World: WHO head: There will be no return to the "old normal" for the foreseeable future — Hong Kong Disneyland closing due to surge.
  4. States: California orders sweeping rollback of open businesses as virus cases surge — Cuomo says New York will use formula to determine if reopening schools is safe.
  5. Politics: McEnany denies White House issued "opposition research" on Fauci.