Trump picks Nauert, Barr; Kelly set to go
President Donald Trump on Friday nominated state department spokesperson Heather Nauert as the new US ambassador to the UN and William Barr as the next attorney general as reports emerged that John Kelly was set to quit as White House chief of staff.
Trump told reporters Barr had been his “first choice since day one’ and that “I’ve seen very good things about him”. Barr served as the top US law enforcement officer during 1991-93 in the administration of president George H W Bush, who died last week.
Nauert will succeed Nikki Haley and Trump said she had done a great job at the state department and is “very talented, very smart, very quick and I think that she will be respected by all”. Both positions will have to be confirmed by the Senate.
Trump did not answer questions from journalists about reports that Kelly was quitting, something that has been speculated for long. CNN reported Trump and Kelly had reached “a stalemate in their relationship” and had stopped speaking in recent days.
The president teased a third personnel change, which he said would be about the joint chiefs of staff and that he would make an announcement on Saturday.
Barr will succeed Jeff Sessions, who was forced out as Trump was unhappy with his handling of the Russia probe. Sessions had recused himself from it.
Trump blamed Sessions for the probe being conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller, which has obtained guilty pleas from six former campaign aides and administration officials, including former national security adviser Mike Flynn and former lawyer Michael Cohen.
The president has railed against the probe, calling it a witch hunt.
■ William Barr has been picked as US attorney general.