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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: 341862

Reported Deaths: 7533
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds23783441
DeSoto23180283
Harrison20365329
Rankin15307290
Jackson15087251
Madison10917227
Lee10674179
Jones8969169
Forrest8621159
Lauderdale7839243
Lowndes7016151
Lamar696289
Lafayette6535124
Washington5589139
Pearl River5141152
Bolivar4949134
Oktibbeha491698
Panola4766112
Warren4709127
Marshall4691106
Pontotoc446273
Union432579
Monroe4322137
Neshoba4268181
Hancock423788
Lincoln4171116
Pike3650113
Leflore3619125
Tate352888
Alcorn349574
Sunflower347194
Adams340588
Scott340176
Yazoo338575
Copiah323468
Simpson322090
Itawamba314180
Coahoma313385
Tippah304768
Prentiss297863
Covington291883
Leake284675
Marion283681
Wayne276143
George270551
Grenada268888
Newton261564
Tishomingo239370
Winston236584
Jasper229548
Attala225973
Stone225337
Chickasaw218760
Holmes199274
Clay196754
Clarke186280
Tallahatchie183742
Calhoun181232
Smith178935
Yalobusha171340
Walthall145348
Lawrence141626
Greene139734
Amite136943
Noxubee134835
Perry133238
Montgomery132244
Carroll125931
Webster121032
Jefferson Davis116234
Tunica113427
Benton106225
Claiborne105031
Kemper102329
Humphreys100133
Franklin87723
Quitman84619
Choctaw82319
Wilkinson77732
Jefferson71128
Sharkey51618
Issaquena1736
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 577463

Reported Deaths: 11510
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson841981589
Mobile47171860
Madison37047533
Tuscaloosa26915465
Shelby26873256
Montgomery25918625
Baldwin24499328
Lee16949181
Calhoun15252332
Morgan15017290
Etowah14778370
Marshall12933235
Houston11774292
Elmore10761217
St. Clair10617252
Limestone10574158
Cullman10363205
Lauderdale10083254
DeKalb9382191
Talladega8836188
Walker7681287
Autauga7479114
Jackson7317117
Blount7266139
Colbert6635142
Coffee6163132
Dale5453117
Russell470642
Chilton4682117
Covington4649125
Franklin450081
Tallapoosa4440156
Escambia427882
Chambers3898125
Dallas3717163
Clarke367763
Marion3427106
Pike327879
Lawrence3225101
Winston294973
Bibb284565
Geneva276383
Marengo259967
Barbour246261
Pickens240062
Butler238272
Hale232778
Fayette225264
Henry209245
Monroe197241
Randolph196744
Cherokee196348
Washington180139
Macon168752
Crenshaw165558
Clay163759
Cleburne160245
Lamar149938
Lowndes144854
Wilcox130531
Bullock126142
Conecuh119630
Coosa116929
Perry109928
Sumter109032
Greene98736
Choctaw64325
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