Sources: Possible White House shakeup could reach Priebus



WASHINGTON — Facing a West Wing in near-constant crisis, and with little progress so far on most of his legislative priorities, President Donald Trump is actively seeking advice about a shakeup that could envelop his Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus.

Multiple sources close to the administration told NBC News the president has been sounding off about staff changes, although no final decisions have been made. Another administration source flatly denies Priebus is at risk.

But people close to Trump point to two names that have emerged in the conversations: David Urban, who oversaw the Pennsylvania operation for the Trump campaign, and Gary Cohn, the president's top economic adviser and former Goldman Sachs executive.

Urban is perceived as a Trump loyalist who helped deliver Pennsylvania, a crucial prize to the president, on election night. His connections to Capitol Hill could be an asset to a White House hoping to bolster those relationships, but, like other top advisers currently serving Trump, he doesn't bring prior White House experience to the table. And signs point to Trump appearing to cool on Urban in recent days as a potential future chief of staff.

While Cohn's name has long been rumored to be in the mix for the chief of staff position, those close to him say he's skittish about bringing on campaign loyalists like Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie. Both Lewandowski and Bossie visited the White House this weekend and may take on bigger crisis management roles as the Congressional and FBI Russia investigations ramp up. Bossie, the former deputy campaign manager, has told people that he is "leaning against" joining the staff, though no final decision has been made.

There's also concern inside some White House factions that bringing in the "old gang" may derail the president's agenda by triggering defections inside the West Wing. Cohn has extensive business relationships outside the White House and an affinity for driving policy discussions around tax reform and economic development, both of which could be assets. But internally, he's eyed warily by other factions inside the West Wing; his rise would likely be seen as a threat to the Trump loyalists.

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Net worths of Trump's Cabinet members
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Net worths of Trump's Cabinet members

Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the Interior: $800,000

Before serving in Congress, Zinke, who has an MBA, started Continental Divide International in 2005, a property management and business development consulting company. He later formed a consulting company, On Point Montana, in 2009.

REUTERS/Carlos Barria TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Mike Pence, Vice President: $800,000

Pence became an attorney in a private practice after graduating from law school before serving in Congress and then becoming the Governor of Indiana.

(BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Rick Perry, Secretary of Energy: $2 million 

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry banks at least $100,000 from speeches and $250,000 from consulting Caterpillar. Additionally, the politician has about 20% of his portfolio invested in in oil-and gas partnerships and energy stocks, according to Forbes.

REUTERS/Carlos Barria

John Kelly, Secretary of Homeland Security: $4 million 

Kelly, who spent over four decades in the military, amassed the majority of his wealth from government pension. 

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

James Mattis, Secretary of Defense: $5 million

Like Kelly, the four-star general made most of his money from government pension. He also sits as a director of General Dynamics. 

REUTERS/Ed Jones/Pool

Jeff Sessions: $6 million (Attorney General)

Sessions owns more than 1,500 acres in Alabma that are worth at least $2.5 million. The rest of his fortune is in Vanguard mutual funds and municipal bonds, according to Forbes.

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Tom Price, Secretary of Health and Human Services: $10 million

Price ran an orthopedic clinic in Atlanta for 20 years, then taught orthopedic surgery as an assistant porfessor at his alma mater, Emory.

REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Elaine Chao, Secretary of Transportation: $24 million

The daughter of a shipping magnate owes the buld of her and her husband Mitch McConnell’s wealth to her family. 

REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: $29 million 

The neurosurgeon earned millions from books he penned, media roles and speaking gigs. He also served as a director at Kellogg and Costco, accumulating more than $6 million in stocks. 

REUTERS/Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus/File Photo

Andy Puzder, Secretary of Labor: $45 million 

The CEO of CKE Restaurants, which owns Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, has earned at least $25 million in salary and bonuses since 2000.

(Photo by Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury: $300 million 

The former Goldman Sachs partner purchased subprime mortgage lender IndyMac for $1.6 billion in 2009 with a group of billionaire investors and sold it for $3.4 billion six years later.

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State: $325 million

The former ExxonMobil chairman and CEO accumulated more than 2.6 million shares of company stock in his tenure and hefty pay packages, according to Forbes.

(BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education: $1.25 billion

The daughter of a shipping magnate owes the bulk of her and her husband Mitch McConnell’s wealth to her family.

(Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce: $2.5 billion 

Known as the "King of Bankruptcy," the former banker bought bankrupt companies and later selling them for a large profit.

 REUTERS/Carlos Barria
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Both Urban and Cohn are said to have cordial, if not overly close, relationships with the president's powerful son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who has been directed to "lay low" in the wake of new Russia reporting and is less likely to exert the kind of unchecked influence he has had under the next chief of staff.

And amid the swirl of speculation surrounding staff changes, there's only one true constant: The caveat, reiterated by those close to the president, that ultimately it's Trump — and only Trump — who will do what he wants when he wants it.

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