John Kelly is attempting to make order out of reported chaos in the White House, and it appears part of his strategy is diminishing the information pipeline to President Trump down to the size of a straw. The chief of staff's plan was laid out in two White House memos cited by Politico and the New York Times, delivered to West Wingers and Cabinet members on Monday and spelling out a new policymaking and workflow procedure that leaves the vetting of all information coming in to Trump to just two people: Kelly and staff secretary Rob Porter, with possible help from Kelly's assistant, Kirstjen Nielsen. The reported goal is to keep misinformation out of the president's hands and present to him on relevant issues a thorough and non-sensational view of competing perspectives.
Ex-chief of staff Reince Priebus had apparently tried to implement a similar process, but his guidelines were roundly disregarded; the Times notes that "crossing a Marine is a different matter." The memos were apparently a follow-up to a conference call Kelly had with senior staffers last week related to access to the president. Who's not happy about Kelly's firm hand on the info conduit: far-right media sources like Infowars, per BuzzFeed. "News summaries have been sanitized," Trump surrogate Roger Stone says. But others say Kelly's directive may have little sway, as Trump has his own connections to such media and because his own family members are in the mix. "Is [Kelly] going to get between the president and his queen? Good luck, pal," says freelancer Chuck Johnson, while alt-right personality Mike Cernovich notes: "If [the info is] good enough, Don Jr. will give it to him." (Read more John Kelly stories.)