Donald Trump set to wield the axe after midterms with personnel changes

Donald Trump is expected to wield the axe in the wake of Tuesday’s midterm elections, with figures close to the president predicting that cabinet members will be forced out. 

The US president did not push back on suggestions he would reshuffle his administration when talking to reporters earlier this week, saying pointedly: “For the most part, I love my cabinet.”

Another shake-up would likely further consolidate power under Mr Trump, removing moderating forces who at times have urged caution over policy, much to the president’s frustration.

It would also once again push up the turnover figures for Mr Trump’s White House, already one of the highest for a modern-day president. 

More than 38 million Americans voted early in the elections – a huge rise on the 27 million who did so in the 2014 midterms.

In Texas, Arizona and Nevada early ballots alone exceeded the entire 2014 voting totals, showing a country energised by this year’s congressional and state-wide elections. 

The results offer an insight into the mood of the electorate two years after Mr Trump’s shock victory, which put a man with no government or military experience into the White House. 

With the election now over, Mr Trump is predicted to make widespread personnel changes. Sebastian Gorka, Mr Trump’s former deputy assistant, predicted one or two cabinet members could go. 

"Every White House has some changes in year three. This one will be no exception,” he told The Daily Telegraph.

Speaking to reporters on Monday before a final day of campaigning, Mr Trump made little effort to downplay the possibility of a shake-up. 

"Administrations make changes usually after midterms and probably we’ll be right in that category. I think it’s very customary,” he said. 

Jeff Sessions, the US attorney general who Mr Trump has repeatedly chastised for recusing himself from the Russia investigation, is among those in the most precarious position. 

Mr Sessions has become a frequent target for Mr Trump’s tweeted criticism and key Republican senators who had been publicly backing him now seem resigned to his departure. 

Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general overseeing the Russia probe, could also be at risk. He appeared on the eve of leaving in September before a decision was delayed. 

Mr Rosenstein faced embarrassing reports that he proposed wearing a wire when meeting the president at the height of the fallout over FBI director James Comey’s sacking.

He said the comment was a joke.  However his departure would complicate Robert Mueller’s probe on Russian meddling in the 2016 election, which has dogged the Trump presidency, as a new overseer would need to be picked. 

Mr Mueller has made few public moves in recent weeks as the election came to a head, but his probe is expected to reenter the spotlight before Christmas.

He continues to push for an interview with Mr Trump, a row that has played out behind the scenes all year. 

Other question marks hang over Kirstjen Nielsen, the homeland security secretary whose failure to drive down immigration has angered Mr Trump, and Jim Mattis, the defence secretary seen as a moderating force who the president publicly suggested could leave last month. 

A new US ambassador to the United Nations is also due to be announced this week after Nikki Haley decided to leave.

Heather Nauert, the top State Department spokesman and former Fox News reporter, is the front-runner for the job. 

Speaking before the polls opened, Mr Trump suggested he could soften his tone after an election campaign where he deployed heated warnings over the threat posed by illegal immigration. 

Asked about regrets from his time in office during an ABC7 interview, Mr Trump said: "I would like to have a much softer tone. 

"I feel to a certain extent I have no choice, but maybe I do. Maybe I could have been softer from that standpoint."

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