By Caroline Kelly and Nikki Carvajal, CNN
Updated 9:50 PM ET, Sat October 26, 2019
(CNN) President Donald Trump is disputing that former White House chief of staff John Kelly warned the President before he left the White House last year not to hire a replacement who wouldn’t tell him the truth or that he would be impeached.
Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general, made the comments during an interview at the Sea Island Summit political conference hosted by the Washington Examiner this weekend.
Kelly said if he had stayed on as chief of staff Trump wouldn’t be in the midst of the current impeachment inquiry, implying that White House advisers could have prevented it.
“I said, whatever you do — and we were still in the process of trying to find someone to take my place — I said whatever you do, don’t hire a ‘yes man,’ someone who won’t tell you the truth — don’t do that,” Kelly said. “Because if you do, I believe you will be impeached.”
Kelly’s comments come after his successor, now acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, brashly confirmed and then denied earlier this month that Trump froze nearly $400 million in US security aid to Ukraine in part to pressure that country into investigating Democrats.
Trump weighed in Saturday on Kelly’s interview with the Washington Examiner, saying in a statement to CNN, “John Kelly never said that, he never said anything like that. If he would have said that I would have thrown him out of the office. He just wants to come back into the action like everybody else does.”