The White House communications director has resigned in what could be the first of several changes in President Donald Trump's senior staff as he attempts to shape a response to investigations of his aides' links to Russia.
Mike Dubke, a Republican consultant, is leaving the communications post after just three months on the job. Dubke resigned two weeks ago, but Trump accepted his offer to stay on through Trump's recently ended nine-day trip to the Middle East and Europe. The White House said Dubke will remain in the post until a successor is in place.
No other White House staff changes have been announced, but reports say Trump is considering several moves in hopes of offering a better presentation to American voters.
Trump and his aides are facing the prospect of weeks and months of investigations into their ties to Moscow, with a special counsel named to probe whether his campaign officials illegally colluded with Russian officials to help him win and several congressional committees also gathering facts about Russian meddling in the election.
Trump has often dismissed claims of Russian help in winning the election and on Tuesday, in a Twitter comment, called it a "lame excuse" by Democrats for losing the White House.
Russian officials must be laughing at the U.S. & how a lame excuse for why the Dems lost the election has taken over the Fake News.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2017
U.S. news accounts in recent days say Trump has grown increasingly frustrated that reports of the Russian probes are consuming the White House and his attempts to reform the national health care insurance law championed by his predecessor, former President Barack Obama, cut taxes, and change immigration policies.
In another Twitter comment, Trump said the 100-member Senate should change its rules that often require a 60-vote supermajority to approve major legislation and immediately switch to a simple majority of 51 votes to pass health care and tax legislation "fast and easy," with possible Democratic support.
The U.S. Senate should switch to 51 votes, immediately, and get Healthcare and TAX CUTS approved, fast and easy. Dems would do it, no doubt!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2017
Four months into his presidency, national polls show Trump's approval ratings are among the lowest ever for a new American leader.
The Gallup poll, based on a three-day rolling survey of voter sentiment, currently says that 42 percent of Americans approve of his job performance, with 53 percent disapproving, figures that are slightly better for Trump than those recorded in recent weeks.