President Donald Trump’s chief of staff John Kelly said Tuesday that the White House is waiting for the Justice Department to provide him with a formal letter from Attorney General Jeff Sessions to remove him from his role.
The White House released a statement Tuesday evening saying the president will not resign, but said it is “considering all options” and has no immediate plans to do so.
The statement came as the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee began questioning the president about his role in the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, a decision that drew intense scrutiny in Congress and the media.
Kelly was asked during an appearance on ABC News’ This Week if he had received a letter from Sessions asking him to remove Trump from office.
Kelly said he did not.
“I have never received a direct request from Sessions to do anything,” Kelly said.
“The President is fully aware of the process and the process is working.”
He said he has been advised that the DOJ has not made a formal determination that he has a conflict of interest in his role as White House chief of that position.
Kelly told ABC News he was not aware of any DOJ official saying that the president is not qualified to serve as president.
He said the president has not asked him to resign.
“It’s not about whether I think he should or should not,” Kelly added.
“It’s just that he’s in a different place now, so it’s not that he hasn’t asked me to step down, but I have not been given that formal request.”
He did not specify when or if he will receive the letter.
Kelly’s comments come after the Senate Judiciary Committee announced Monday that it would hold a hearing on Trump’s decision to fire Comey.
Kelly said Tuesday on NBC’s Meet the Press that Trump has not approached him about resigning.
“We are still working through the process, the process that we have with the Department of Justice and the Department, and I’ve been advised by the Department that they haven’t made a final determination, and we’re still in the process,” Kelly told NBC.
“So, we’re in the midst of that process.”
Trump’s decision was first reported by The Washington Post.
Trump and Kelly have been at odds on several issues, including the Trump-Russia probe and the investigation into possible collusion between his campaign and Russian officials.
In his first full week in office, Trump fired FBI Director Robert Mueller on May 9 and nominated former FBI Assistant Director Andrew McCabe to serve in the position of acting director.
The next day, the Senate Intelligence Committee announced that it had launched an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion with Trump’s campaign and administration.
The panel, which has jurisdiction over matters related to the Trump campaign, also has jurisdiction in the Comey firing and McCabe’s nomination.
Kelly also was the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee when the panel launched its probe.
The Senate Judiciary and Homeland Security Committees are the two oversight committees that will oversee the Justice and FBI departments.
Kelly is one of the first senior figures in the Trump administration to publicly come out against Comey’s firing, saying on Tuesday that he does not believe the former FBI director should resign.
In a statement, Kelly said that Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation was “not a great example of a successful and effective director.”
Kelly said that while he disagreed with Comey’s decision, he agreed with his decision to dismiss the former director.
Kelly also said on Meet the Polls that the House GOP’s Freedom Caucus has made clear to him that it supports the president in his decision, adding that he is “pleased that we’re not just going to have a short-term fight, we want to make sure that this doesn’t happen again.”
“We’re going to keep the pressure on and keep talking to the American people,” Kelly concluded.
Kelly has said that he will remain on the Hill as the chairman and will continue to support Trump as he tries to pass a tax bill.