Chris Liddell (L) talks with Gary Cohn. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has named Christopher Liddell, a Jared Kushner ally who ran the Office of American Innovation, as Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy Coordination. Politico first reported the news.

What I'm hearing: Two White House officials told me they interpret this move as a signal that Kelly is trying to soothe tensions with Kushner and make this fraught arrangement work for the long haul. But I have not confirmed whether Kelly himself was thinking about this when he made the decision to promote Liddell. 

Why it matters: This is the role that Rob Porter was pursuing for a while. In a normal White House a deputy chief of staff for policy could be a powerful figure, controlling the policy-making process inside the building.

  • However, it remains an open question whether Kelly will empower Liddell to play that role. If he does, Liddell could play a key role in shepherding the most important economic debates inside the White House. 
  • For example, Porter controlled the weekly trade discussions and multiple sources have told me the internal trade discussions have changed dramatically since Porter left.
  • The nationalists, including Peter Navarro, have ascended, allowing Trump’s own protectionist instincts to flourish through aggressive tariff announcements. Officials are skeptical about whether Liddell has the desire or capacity to play a similar role to Porter in tamping down the protectionists.

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Robert Mueller speaks out on Roger Stone commutation

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller testifies before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill on Wednesday July 24, 2019. Photo: The Washington Post / Contributor

Former special counsel Robert Mueller responded to claims from President Trump and his allies that Roger Stone was a "victim" in the Justice Department's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, writing in a Washington Post op-ed published Saturday: "He remains a convicted felon, and rightly so."

Why it matters: The rare public comments by Mueller come on the heels of President Trump's move to commute the sentence of his longtime associate, who was sentenced in February to 40 months in prison for crimes stemming from the Russia investigation. The controversial decision brought an abrupt end to the possibility of Stone spending time behind bars.

Trump dons face mask during Walter Reed visit

Trump wearing a face mask in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on July 11. Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump wore a face mask during his Saturday visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, according to AP.

Why it matters: This is the first known occasion the president has appeared publicly with a facial covering as recommended by health officials since the coronavirus pandemic began, AP writes.

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