>> He's a tough cookie.>> Long-standing friction between President Trump and two top aides, the National Security Advisor and the Chief of Staff, has grown to a point that either or both might soon quit. This, according to four senior administration officials. Both HR McMaster and John Kelly are military men considered to be moderating influences on the president by imposing a routine in the otherwise inexperienced White House.
They've also convinced Trump of the importance of international alliances like NATO, which he has often criticized. Speaking on a condition of anonymity, all four officials told Reuters that Kelly and McMaster have chafed at Trump's treatment of them in public and in private, which both at times have considered insulting.
Sources say the latest source of friction is Kelly's effort supported by McMaster to prevent officials who still don't have high level security clearances from having access to the government's most closely held secrets. This potentially sets up a confrontation with the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who only has a temporary clearance.
Trump has famously clashed with many of his appointees, recently calling out his Attorney General Jeff Sessions for not investigating his political enemies, and General McMaster for failing to conclude that Russia's interference had no effect on the election. McMaster has taken a harder stance on Russia than his boss.
Administration officials were quick to add the tensions could blow over, as have previous episodes of discord between the president and other top officials who have fallen out of favor, including Attorney General Sessions and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. And if this all sounds eerily familiar, there is a reason.
Here's Kelly in October.>> I'm not quitting today.>> Amid reports then that he was on the outs.>> I don't believe, and I just talked to the president, I don't think I'm being fired today.>> And here's Trump in February as Kelly was taking heat for the Rob Porter scandal.
] Kelly's job safe?>> Thank you all very much.>> Thank you.