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Panetta: Kelly has become a 'virtual White House intern'

Panetta: Kelly has become a 'virtual White House intern'
© Greg Nash

Former chief of staff to former President Clinton, Leon Panetta, told The Washington Post that as chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE loses power in the Oval Office he becomes a "virtual White House intern."

"When you lose that power," Panetta told the Post, "you become a virtual White House intern, being told where to go and what to do."

According to the Post, Kelly has lost his “credibility and his influence” within the White House.

Sources also told The Hill earlier this month that Kelly "ruled the West Wing with an iron fist" when he first joined Trump's team, but that his influence has been fading in recent days.

Kelly was not fully consulted on recent key personnel decisions and has lost the support of some of the staff while angering first lady Melania Trump by dismissing the president’s aide, Johnny McEntee, White House sources told the Post. 

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Sources told the Post, however, that Trump talks to Kelly more than any other official and still listens to Kelly on national security issues and immigration.

Kelly’s loss of influence stems from his recent blunders in the handling of domestic abuse allegations against former staff secretary Rob Porter and Trump’s decision to fire national security adviser H.R. McMaster, according to the Post.