Officials said personal tensions have led McMaster to be sidelined in some internal discussions, including a recent meeting on Venezuela sanctions, with Kelly taking on a more active role in foreign policy decisions.
Later in the briefing Sanders was asked about the President's reaction to stories that McMaster was out and whether Trump saw any truth in the stories.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller issued subpoenas to the Trump Organization seeking records of its alleged business in Russian Federation, as President Donald Trump desperately tried to quell reports about a White House in chaos, following unexpected staff shakeups.
And even Kelly, who took the helm of the White House previous year after his predecessor, Reince Priebus, was unceremoniously ousted, has been rumored to be on the outs with Trump. She said Trump had indicated that no changes were coming. And Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, under fire for ethics violations, appears to be grasping to keep his job.
It's the very question that has the whole White House on edge.
But the air of stability the White House tried to project felt more like a pause than a permanent shift.
The fact that the comments were made, even if off-the-record, to a room full of reporters and White House officials stunned The Beast's sources, especially given the fact that Kelly is regarded as "one of the more mature members of Trump's top brass". On Friday, the White House said President Trump told South Korea's president, Moon Jae-in, he still intends to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un by the end of May. He has told confidants he wants to rid himself of staffers who hold him back. Top economic adviser Gary Cohn and communications director Hope Hicks are leaving in the coming weeks. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was just unceremoniously ousted.
Friday's assurances have done little to quell the swirl of news around the possible departure of H.R. McMaster, Trump's second national security adviser.
Trump's administration has set records for turnover among senior administration aides.
The president himself has said in recent days that there will always be change in his administration, and that he's still contemplating more moves.
Trump has expressed frustration with aides whom he believes try to "manage" him according to several current and former White House officials - and has grown exhausted of efforts by his staff to stall controversial actions they disagree with.
Richard Painter called former United Nations ambassador John Bolton's potential selection as security advisor role "an invitation to to war, perhaps nuclear war" and the former George W. Bush administration chief White House ethics lawyer said that his appointment "must be stopped at all costs".
Trump chafes at McMaster's demeanor, complaining that his aide lectures him, according to three current and former administration officials. The issue, according to a report from the Washington Post, was that McEntee has a high-dollar gambling habit-the sort of thing that was previously unimaginable among senior aides, it could pose a potential security risk.
Kelly has been credited with imposing order on the chaotic West Wing, but his relationship with Trump has also come under strain.