White House Chief of Staff John Kelly. Photo: Oliver Contreras - Pool/Getty Images

A "physical altercation" between White House chief of staff John Kelly and former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski outside the Oval Office in February, during which Kelly grabbed Lewandowski by the collar and attempted to throw him out of the West Wing, got so heated that Secret Service had to get involved, the New York Times' Maggie Haberman and Katie Rogers report.

Why it matters: The incident, which reportedly occurred at the time when Kelly’s future at the White House was being questioned, is “the latest illustration of the often chaotic atmosphere” in the Trump White House, Haberman and Rogers write. They also describe it as a "reflection of the degree to which Mr. Kelly’s temper can be provoked."

What happened: Citing six people familiar with the matter, Haberman and Rogers said that both men were in President Trump's office when Kelly leveled criticism against Lewandowski for making money off the super PAC associated with the president’s re-election.

  • Kelly also reportedly complained about Lewandowski criticizing him on TV for his handling of former White House staff secretary Rob Porter's exit.
  • Both men had reportedly left the room before the "near brawl" began. According to the Times' sources, Lewandowski never got physical.

While Lewandowski still travels with Trump on Air Force One and meets with him at the White House, sources told the Times that West Wing aides try to ensure Lewandowski stays out of Kelly’s corner of the West Wing.

Flashback: This is not the first time Kelly got into a physical altercation. Axios' Jonathan Swan reported earlier this year that Kelly and a Secret Service agent scuffled with Chinese security officials over the nuclear "football" during a trip to China last year.

Go deeper

The national security risks hiding in Trump's debts

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The blockbuster New York Times report on President Trump’s taxes reveals that the president is $421 million in debt, with more than $300 million coming due during Trump’s potential second term — and the identities of the president’s creditors remain unknown.

Why it matters: If some, or all, of this debt is held by foreign actors, it raises serious national security implications.

10 mins ago - World

House report: U.S. intelligence agencies have failed to adapt to China threat

Xi Jinping and other Chinese politicians and delegates listen to the national anthem duirng the closing of the 19th Communist Party Congress in 2017. Photo: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

The House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday released a report finding that the U.S. intelligence community has failed to adapt to the growing threat from China, arguing that it will struggle to compete on the global stage for decades to come if it does not implement major changes.

The big picture: The 200-page report, based on thousands of analytic assessments and hundreds of hours of interviews with intelligence officers, determined that the intelligence community's focus on counterterrorism after 9/11 allowed China "to transform itself into a nation potentially capable of supplanting the United States as the leading power in the world."

Updated 13 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Tim Scott says Trump "misspoke" when he told Proud Boys to "stand by"

Photo: Bonnie Cash/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) told reporters on Wednesday that he believes President Trump "misspoke" when he told the far-right "Proud Boys" group to "stand back and stand by" in response to a question about condemning white supremacy at the first presidential debate.

Catch up quick: Moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump on Tuesday, "Are you willing, tonight, to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down?" Trump asked who specifically he should condemn, and then responded, "Proud Boys, stand back and stand by. But I'll tell you what, somebody's got to do something about antifa and the left."