Former WH Chief Of Staff John Kelly Breaks With Trump On Border Wall, Clams Up About Security Clearances

The Duke University Chronicle reports:

John Kelly, who just months ago was President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, came to campus Wednesday night to talk about steering the White House ship. When asked what advice Kelly gave to Mick Mulvaney, now Trump’s acting Chief of Staff, he had a quick response. “Run like hell,” he said, to roaring laughter.

The New York Times reports:

Kelly declined to answer questions about the existence of a memo he wrote saying that President Trump had ordered officials to give his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, a security clearance in May 2018.

“I couldn’t — and I’m not dodging — I couldn’t comment on that for a couple of reasons,” Mr. Kelly said, citing clearances being among the things that he could not discuss, and that conversations with the president “at that level would certainly” be kept confidential under executive privilege.

Asked specifically about whether he had ever created memos for the record, Mr. Kelly said, “I’d prefer not to talk about that.”

NBC News reports:

On the administration’s handling of children at the southern border, he was critical, though he blamed then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions for catching the White House by surprise with the adoption of a “zero tolerance” policy.

Contrary to Trump’s comments that many immigrants coming to the U.S. border are criminals, Kelly added: “And by the way, they’re overwhelmingly not criminals. They’re people coming up here for economic purposes. I don’t blame them for that.”

He didn’t defend Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency to get funding for a border wall and said: “We don’t need a wall from sea to shining sea.”