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President Trump on Monday acknowledged the existence of assembled lists of government officials that his administration plans to oust and replace with trusted pro-Trump people, which were first reported by Axios' Jonathan Swan.
What he's saying: “I don’t think it's a big problem. I don’t think it's very many people,” Trump said during a press conference in India, adding he wants “people who are good for the country, loyal to the country.”
How it works: Swan reported that network of conservative activists has been compiling "Never Trump/pro-Trump" lists and sending them to Trump to shape who he should and should not trust.
- Members of this network include Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and Republican Senate staffer Barbara Ledeen.
- Since Trump's Senate acquittal, aides say the president has crossed a psychological line regarding what he calls the "Deep State." He feels his government — from Justice to State to Defense to Homeland Security — is filled with "snakes." He wants them fired and replaced ASAP.
Why it matters: The memos have created trust issues within the White House. The president has heard from people close to him that his own staff are undermining him, while White House staff countered that they have been smeared.