White House communications director Michael Dubke is out — and it could just be the start of a bigger shake-up

President Donald Trump at the Israel Museum last Tuesday in Jerusalem. AP Photo/Evan Vucci

The White House communications director, Michael Dubke, has resigned, and that may just be the first of many changes to come.

Kellyanne Conway, the White House counselor, told the Associated Press that Dubke handed in his resignation before President Donald Trump left for his international trip earlier this month.

Dubke wrote in a statement that it had been an honor to serve Trump and "my distinct pleasure to work side-by-side, day-by-day with the staff of the communications and press departments."

In an interview on Fox News on Tuesday morning, Conway said Dubke "made very clear that he would see through the president's international trip and come to work every day and work hard even through that trip because there was much to do here back at the White House."

White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said in a statement after Dubke's resignation that, "I want to thank Mike Dubke for his service to President Trump and this administration."

He continued: "We appreciate Mike and are very grateful for his service to President Trump and our country. Mike tendered his resignation just before the President's historic international trip and offered to remain onboard until a transition is concluded. Mike will assist with the transition and be a strong advocate for the President and the President's policies moving forward."

Dubke's resignation comes amid a broader reported White House shake-up of its communications strategy. That includes introducing more rallies across the US so Trump can speak directly with voters.

"The conventional ways of communicating are not working for them," one adviser told The Washington Post. "They have to get the campaign brand back" and be able to communicate with an audience instead of having the report on it, the adviser added.

Trump may also take more questions from reporters when he's traveling and during photo ops with foreign leaders.

"He says things exactly the way he wants them to be said," one official told the news website Axios.

Aides have floated possible changes to the daily press briefing and a downsized role for press secretary Sean Spicer. Some have discussed the option of having Spicer take on a more discreet, behind-the-scenes role following a series of press briefings that were widely criticized.

Sean Spicer. Alex Wong/Getty Images

If Spicer is demoted, he would most likely be replaced by deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who took over Spicer's role for several press briefings as revelations continued to emerge in the investigations into Trump associates' ties with Russia. On Monday afternoon, Spicer is scheduled to hold his first on-camera press briefing in over two weeks.

The White House is also reportedly considering building a "war room" tasked with managing continuing developments in the Russia controversy. The primary goal of the operation would be to more aggressively fire back at fallout after Trump's abrupt firing of the FBI director, James Comey, on May 9.

The proposed war room, Axios reported, would be filled with "experienced veterans from the campaign trail who recognize the gravity of the situation."

The White House could turn to figures like former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and former deputy campaign manager David Bossie for help in the war room, The Post said. Lewandowski was fired last year after a series of campaign-trail blunders, and Bossie is known for his 20-year-long investigation into Bill and Hillary Clinton. Trump met with Bossie and Lewandowski on Monday.

Bossie told Fox News' "Fox & Friends" that the Trump administration had reached out to him but hadn't offered him a job yet.

"They have talked to many people, including me," Bossie said. He later added: "It's an ongoing conversation, and that's a fair way to put it."

Trump also brought on his longtime lawyer Marc Kasowitz to spearhead a legal team tasked with helping the president combat intensifying investigations into Russian interference in the election and his associates' potential involvement.

Axios reported on Tuesday that Trump may also recruit GOP lobbyist David Urban, who was critical to handing him an upset victory in Pennsylvania during the 2016 election.

"The bottom line is they need fresh legs; they need more legs," Barry Bennett, a Trump campaign political adviser, told The Post. "They're in full-scale war, and they're thinly staffed."

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