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Bolton, Kelly get into heated shouting match

A heated argument in the West Wing between chief of staff John Kelly and national security adviser John Bolton over a recent surge in border crossings turned into a shouting match, two sources familiar with the argument told CNN.

Posted: Oct 19, 2018 10:45 AM
Updated: Oct 19, 2018 11:06 AM

A heated argument in the West Wing between chief of staff John Kelly and national security adviser John Bolton over a recent surge in border crossings turned into a shouting match Thursday, two sources familiar with the argument told CNN.

The exchange lay bare a bitter disagreement that has existed between two of President Donald Trump's top aides for weeks now.

Trump, who was incensed about the rising levels of migrants and threatened to shut down the southern border on Twitter earlier that morning, took Bolton's side during the argument. Bolton favors a harder line approach to the issue and criticized Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen during the argument, a source said. Nielsen used to serve as Kelly's deputy when he ran DHS. Bolton reportedly said Nielsen needed to start doing her job, which incensed Kelly.

The President, who sources say was present for the beginning of the shouting match, later denied knowledge of it.

"I've not heard about it. No," Trump told reporters before boarding Air Force One to fly to Montana on Thursday afternoon.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders did not deny the incident, and instead pushed blame onto Democrats in a statement later Thursday, insisting that her colleagues are "not angry at one another."

"While we are passionate about solving the issue of illegal immigration, we are not angry at one another. However, we are furious at the failure of Congressional Democrats to help us address this growing crisis," she said.

The statement continued, "They should be ashamed for pushing an open borders agenda and are only doing this for strictly political reasons. Despite us having the worst laws in the world and no help from Democrats, our Administration is doing a great job on the border."

This isn't the first time Nielsen's handling of border security has been scrutinized by the Trump White House.

Trump and Nielsen got into a heated argument during a Cabinet meeting in May over border security, a source with knowledge told CNN.

Trump said he didn't think she was doing enough to secure the border and two people told The New York Times, which first reported the argument, that Nielsen drafted a resignation letter over the matter.

While arguing is frequent in this divided West Wing, a source familiar with the clash equated it with a falling out.

Bolton continued on with scheduled meetings throughout the afternoon.

The fight between Kelly and Bolton startled several aides throughout the West Wing on Thursday, a person who heard the shouting said, adding that the raised voices went well beyond the heated discussions of the Trump administration.

After the blowup, aides whispered privately that one of the men might leave the White House given the deep disagreement over the border. The fact that the President sided with Bolton, which only added to Kelly's fury.

A White House official said later that tempers had cooled and Kelly was not going to leave. Another declined to comment.

The caravan issue has been the subject of several White House meetings in recent days, according to an administration official. The conversations have centered around not only how to stop the caravan, but also how to use the issue for the upcoming midterms, the official said. Stephen Miller has been heavily involved.

According to unpublished Department of Homeland Security statistics reviewed by The Washington Post, the number of migrant families entering the US reached record levels in the three months since Trump ended migrant family separations -- a result of the administration's zero tolerance immigration policy.

Earlier this week Trump also took note of a migrant caravan formed in the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula on Saturday and crossed into Guatemala on Monday. The caravan numbers in the thousands, organizers say.

Members of the group told CNN en Español that they decided to join the caravan and head to the United States because of insecurity and a lack of jobs in Honduras. Many are traveling with children in tow.

Trump posted several tweets about the caravan on Tuesday, calling for an end to foreign aid should they continue to travel.

"We have today informed the countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador that if they allow their citizens, or others, to journey through their borders and up to the United States, with the intention of entering our country illegally, all payments made to them will STOP (END)!" Trump tweeted Tuesday night.

Trump has repeatedly called for cuts to foreign aid in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico, which, in all, obtained some $260 million in foreign aid for fiscal year 2019.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 156868

Reported Deaths: 3851
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10409104
Hinds10279202
Harrison7313112
Jackson6566128
Rankin5887106
Lee529496
Madison5014107
Forrest389786
Jones369088
Lauderdale3594147
Lafayette338253
Washington3246108
Lamar297850
Oktibbeha252362
Lowndes247064
Bolivar244384
Panola232653
Neshoba2249121
Marshall222851
Leflore208591
Monroe206778
Pontotoc204231
Lincoln197366
Sunflower192655
Warren180258
Tate177751
Union171926
Copiah167940
Pike165359
Yazoo160140
Scott159430
Itawamba157635
Alcorn155628
Pearl River155368
Coahoma152743
Simpson152653
Prentiss151331
Adams144752
Grenada143345
Leake139744
Holmes133461
Covington128639
Tippah128430
George128325
Winston125526
Hancock124341
Wayne121323
Marion119446
Attala119334
Tishomingo112443
Chickasaw109432
Newton108229
Tallahatchie98127
Clay94727
Clarke93653
Jasper85223
Stone80615
Calhoun78713
Walthall77629
Montgomery76926
Carroll74115
Lawrence73814
Smith73216
Yalobusha73128
Noxubee72717
Perry68326
Tunica62619
Greene61522
Jefferson Davis59017
Claiborne58916
Amite56615
Humphreys54719
Benton50018
Quitman5007
Webster46714
Kemper45018
Wilkinson40522
Jefferson37112
Choctaw3617
Franklin3555
Sharkey32417
Issaquena1204
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 252900

Reported Deaths: 3638
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson33526501
Mobile20103365
Madison13723151
Tuscaloosa13366154
Montgomery12552236
Shelby1079677
Baldwin9051137
Lee787266
Morgan696451
Calhoun6598121
Etowah656167
Marshall647357
Houston541038
DeKalb498137
Cullman462443
St. Clair441956
Limestone440445
Lauderdale426754
Elmore421164
Walker3735111
Talladega370157
Jackson340423
Colbert332042
Blount306140
Autauga281842
Franklin257434
Coffee250015
Dale239054
Dallas231532
Chilton228939
Russell22663
Covington225034
Escambia202331
Tallapoosa187291
Chambers182750
Pike161514
Clarke161019
Marion144736
Winston137523
Lawrence133436
Pickens126518
Geneva12508
Marengo123424
Bibb120418
Barbour118911
Butler118642
Randolph105522
Cherokee105124
Hale98131
Fayette94616
Washington93219
Clay92824
Henry8896
Monroe83011
Lowndes80929
Cleburne78814
Macon75522
Crenshaw72230
Bullock70119
Lamar7018
Conecuh70014
Perry6916
Wilcox64818
Sumter58622
Greene43518
Choctaw43114
Coosa3664
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