Chief of Staff John Kelly in the Oval Office. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

President Trump is consulting with advisers about replacing Chief of Staff John Kelly, the WSJ’s Rebecca Ballhaus and Peter Nicholas first reported.

What we're hearing: Sources with direct knowledge of the situation have confirmed to me what the Wall Street Journal first reported — that Trump has told people he's interested in Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff, Nick Ayers, or Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, to replace Kelly.

The backdrop: The pressure to remove chief of staff John Kelly has been building for months, and the chief's relationship with Trump and many others in the building has been strained. Several people who currently work in the administration have lobbied the president to get rid of Kelly. And many more of Trump's interlocutors outside the White House have lobbied him to get rid of Kelly, too.

Be smart: Nobody has provided me with any evidence that either Ayers or Mulvaney have personally lobbied for the job, or even especially desire the job. Other influential people have pitched them to Trump, though.

A source who's discussed the matter with Trump recently told me he thinks Trump is ready to move, but the president also signaled as much back to senior aides earlier in the year. It's very hard to report anything about staff replacements with anything approaching 100 percent confidence. 

He senses that Kelly's ready to depart."
— A source close to Trump

Go deeper

Trump's Tucker mind-meld

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images and BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

If you want to understand the rhetorical roots of Trump's Independence Day speech at Mount Rushmore, go back and watch Tucker Carlson's monologues for the past six weeks.

Between the lines: Trump — or rather his speechwriter Stephen Miller — framed the president's opposition to the Black Lives Matter protest movement using the same imagery Carlson has been laying out night after night on Fox.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 11,366,145 — Total deaths: 532,644 — Total recoveries — 6,154,138Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 2,874,396 — Total deaths: 129,870 — Total recoveries: 906,763 — Total tested: 35,512,916Map.
  3. States: Photos of America's pandemic July 4 ICU beds in Arizona hot spot near capacity — Houston mayor warns about hospitals
  4. Public health: U.S. coronavirus infections hit record highs for 3 straight days.
  5. Politics: Former Trump official Tom Bossert says face masks “are not enough”
  6. World: Mexican leaders call for tighter border control as infections rise in U.S.
  7. Sports: Sports return stalked by coronavirus
  8. 1 📽 thing: Drive-in movie theaters are making a comeback.

Bolton's hidden aftershocks

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The news media has largely moved on, but foreign government officials remain fixated on John Bolton's memoir, "The Room Where It Happened."

Why it matters: Bolton's detailed inside-the-Oval revelations have raised the blood pressure of allies who were already stressed about President Trump's unreliability.