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Trump looking at several candidates for chief of staff

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is weighing at least four people to serve as his next chief of staff, after plans for an orderly succession for departing John Kelly fell through.

The high-profile hiring search comes at a pivotal time as the president looks to prepare his White House for the twin challenges of securing his re-election and fending off inquiries once Democrats gain control of the House next year.

Trump’s top pick for the job, Nick Ayers, is out of the running and Trump is now soliciting input on at least four individuals, including Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney and Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, the chair of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.

Ayers is now chief of staff to Vice-President Mike Pence.

Zeke Miller, Jill Colvin And Catherine Lucey, The Associated Press