When President Donald Trump announced Friday that White House chief of staff Reince Priebus had resigned and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly would take his place, most people saw what was on the surface: a continued White House shakeup, which earlier in June saw Sean Spicer resign his post as press secretary.
But Fox News host Dana Perino saw something much different. In fact, she suggested on “The Five” Friday that the White House shake-up may not actually be a shake-up at all, but rather a well-thought out game of chess with Trump making the decisions.
And Perino knows all about what goes on behind closed doors in the West Wing. After all, she served as a top aide in the George W. Bush White House and later as his press secretary.
According to Perino, the high-profile resignations, moves and hires are all part of a well-orchestrated plan that was thought out weeks in advance so that Trump could remove Attorney General Jeff Sessions from his post at the Department of Justice.
Trump has publicly stated his frustrations over Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the FBI’s investigation into alleged Russian interference in last year’s election, which includes accusations that Trump’s campaign “colluded” with Russian operatives.
“I’m gonna go out and say this: I think that this was all set up for a few weeks because the president has been so upset about Jeff Sessions and his recusal in the Russia investigation that the Republicans and conservatives that came to Jeff Sessions’ defense this week all said, ‘But he’s doing the best on the issue we care about the most and that is immigration,'” Perino explained.
“Well, where can Jeff Sessions do even more on immigration? As the Secretary of Homeland Security,” she said. “So I think what they’re going to try to do is move Sessions over to DHS, and then how can conservatives complain?”
Perino went on to explain that by moving Sessions to the DHS, Trump would then be in a position to appoint an attorney general that would fire FBI special counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the FBI’s Russia investigation and who Trump has publicly stated his disdain for.
Perino’s theory was met with surprise and astonishment by her co-hosts.
In addition to calling Mueller’s investigation a “witch hunt,” Trump has publicly expressed anger toward Sessions over his recusal. Trump told the New York Times earlier this month that he would have never appointed Sessions to be attorney general had he known prior to the appointment that Sessions would recuse himself.
“Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job, and I would have picked somebody else,” Trump said.
A replacement for Kelly has not yet been named.