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Trump departs the White House for Florida. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

There's an operational reshuffle coming at the top level of the White House. Senior Trump administration official Johnny DeStefano is set to assume greater responsibilities and influence, including overseeing the beleaguered White House political operation.

What's coming: Two sources with direct knowledge of the internal deliberations say DeStefano is expected to assume most of deputy chief of staff Rick Dearborn's responsibilities. Dearborn is expected to leave the White House sometime in the new year.

The backdrop: There's been an intense focus recently on the performance of the White House political shop in general and its leader Bill Stepien in particular. We were first to report in detail about the widespread concerns about the operation's performance; and WashPo and others reported on a recent tense meeting in the Oval Office that climaxed with Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski eviscerating Stepien.

Details of the reshuffle:

  • DeStefano, a Capitol Hill veteran and former leadership aide, is expected to take charge of the Office of Public Liaison — the White House's outreach to interest groups — and is expected to maintain his role overseeing personnel appointments across the administration.
  • DeStefano is also expected to lead the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs — making him responsible for maintaining the White House's relationships with state legislators, governors, tribal leaders, mayors, and other political leaders across the country.
  • The move makes DeStefano one of the administration's key point people to the wider Republican universe.
  • DeStefano did not respond to a request for comment.

I'm told one role of Dearborn's that DeStefano is less likely to take is overseeing Marc Short's Office of Legislative Affairs. Short is expected to report directly to Chief of Staff John Kelly.

Get more stories like this by signing up for our weekly political lookahead newsletter, Axios Sneak Peek.

Go deeper

Alabama trying to use COVID relief funds to expand prisons

Inside the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka, Ala., in 2018. Photo: Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images

Alabama state lawmakers are trying to funnel up to $400 million of the state's American Rescue Plan funds to pay for a $1.3 billion plan to build and renovate prisons across the state, the Associated Press reports.

Why it matters: Diverting dollars from the COVID-relief package, passed in March, is prompting criticism over misuse.

2 hours ago - World

Jake Sullivan discussed human rights and Yemen with Saudi crown prince

MBS in 2018. Photo: Fayez Nureldine/AFP via Getty

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman discussed efforts to end the war in Yemen, the de-escalation of regional tensions with Iran, and Saudi Arabia's human rights record in their meeting on Monday, a senior U.S. official told Axios.

Why it matters: This was Sullivan's first trip to the Middle East since taking up his post in January, and he was the most senior visitor to the kingdom so far from the Biden administration, which has kept the crown prince at arm's length over his roles in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and the war in Yemen.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Top Pentagon officials contradict Biden on Afghanistan advice

Photo: Carolone Brehman/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Top military leaders confirmed in a Senate hearing Tuesday they recommended earlier this year that the U.S. keep 2,500 troops in Afghanistan, and that they believed withdrawing those forces would lead to the collapse of the Afghan military.

Why it matters: Biden denied last month that his top military advisers wanted troops to remain in Afghanistan, telling ABC's George Stephanopoulos: "No one said that to me that I can recall."