Another staff change in Trump White House amid heightened Russia tensions

World Today

President Donald Trump speaks to the media after new White House Chief of Staff John Kelly was privately sworn in during a ceremony in the Oval Office, Monday, July 31, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

It’s another week – another staff shake up in the Trump administration. President Trump hired a new chief of staff and fired his brand-new communications director.

All this, as Washington weighs how to react to Moscow’s expulsion of hundreds of American diplomats.

CGTN’s Jessica Stone reports.

Moscow has ordered the United States to cut diplomatic staff down by more than half from about 1200 to 455. That’s a reduction of more than 700 people, including local staff.

The Kremlin said it will also seize two diplomatic properties in the U.S.

“We have waited long enough, hoping that the situation would perhaps change for the better. But it seems that even if the situation is changing, it’s not going to improve any time soon,” Russia president Vladimir Putin said.

The action comes after U.S. lawmakers passed additional sanctions against Russia. The White House said President Donald Trump will sign them. Washington also announced a deal by a company in Pennsylvania to sell Ukraine an estimated $79 million dollars in coal, trying to free Kiev from its energy dependence on Moscow.

Trump has not weighed in publicly on the sanctions or the expulsions, instead he has spent time reorganizing his West Wing. Monday morning, he swore in his Homeland Security Secretary as his new chief of staff and showed his recently-named Communications Director, Anthony Scaramucci the door.

A White House statement said Scaramucci wanted to give Chief of Staff General John Kelly a “clean slate.” In his 10 days on the job, Scaramucci became best known for a vulgar tirade against members of the president’s staff.

“The president certainly felt that Anthony’s comments were inappropriate for a person in that position,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said.

According to a Reuters news tally, at least 18 people have been fired, resigned or declined to accept a position in the administration since Trump took office in January.