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Alex Brandon / AP

Keith Schiller was never just a bodyguard. He's worked for Trump since 1999 and in nearly 20 years has become one of a handful of people outside of Trump's immediate family that the president truly trusts.

Now he's leaving the White House, and Trump's friends worry about the effect Schiller's absence will have on the president's psyche. Trump believes Schiller "tells him the truth because the only dog he has in the fight is the boss," a friend told Axios. Trump confides in Schiller and asks his advice about everything, including policy.

Schiller, a former NYPD officer who is beloved by the original staff from the Trump campaign, is also a Breitbart-style conservative who kept Trump in touch with the Republican base and with the law enforcement community.

"He's a winger! He's one of us," said another friend of Schiller's.

  • For the past eight months, Schiller has been the conduit linking Trump to his old life, and old friends, in New York City.
  • In the early, freewheeling days of this administration, Trump's old contacts had a method for getting around the Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus: If they wanted to reach Trump, they'd text Keith, and before too long they'd often receive a call from the president.
  • As Director of Oval Office Operations, Schiller oversaw what some aides regarded as a "shitshow." Nowadays, General Kelly tightly polices, and lists, who can visit the Oval; but Schiller operated more or less by gut instinct. He had a feeling for what Trump wanted at any given moment, whether the boss would want to see this person or whether he was in the right mood for visitors.

Schiller has talked to associates about leaving for a while. He'll make more money on the outside, and under the Kelly regime, and with so many people by his side these days, Trump has less use for Schiller, operationally. Emotionally... that's a different story.

Go deeper

Updated 37 mins ago - World

State Department orders evacuation of U.S. diplomats' families from Ukraine

From left, Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Chargés d'Affaires in Ukraine Kristina Kvien during a meeting with Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal in Kyiv. Photo: Yevhen Liubimov/ Ukrinform/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

The State Department will begin evacuating families and non-essential staff from the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv this week, according to a travel advisory published Sunday evening.

Why it matters: The move underscores U.S. fears that a Russian invasion could destabilize Ukraine and threaten embassy's ability to assist Americans.

Perfect storm brewing for extreme politicians

Data: Axios research; Table: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Redistricting and a flood of departing incumbents are paving the way for more extreme candidates in this year's midterm elections.

Driving the news: At least 19 House districts in 12 states are primed to attract such candidates — hard partisans running in strongly partisan districts — according to an Axios analysis of districts as measured by the Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index (PVI).

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: Fauci: "Confident" Omicron cases will peak in February — FDA OKs antiviral drug remdesivir for non-hospitalized COVID patients — Walensky: CDC language "pivoting" on "fully vaccinated".
  2. Vaccines: Annual COVID vaccine preferable to boosters, says Pfizer CEO — Team USA 100% vaccinated against COVID ahead of Beijing Olympics.
  3. Politics: Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates — Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: Beijing Olympic Committee lowers COVID testing threshold ahead of Games — Beijing officials urge COVID-19 "emergency mode" before Winter Olympics — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker

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