The White House didn't comment on the rumors.
In the midst of the controversies, Shulkin has complained that he is the victim of "subversion" from within the VA and at the White House organized by Trump administration political appointees who see him as an obstacle to expansion of the choice program allowing veterans to opt for private health care.
Last month, Missal issued a scathing report charging that Shulkin wrongly charged the $4,132 airfare for his wife on a trip to Denmark and London last July, and also accepted free tickets to the Wimbledon tennis tournament.
Though their accounts are largely unconfirmed, these employees claim they are "being forced out and made to suffer" and that Shulkin was "responsible for the mismanagement".
President Donald Trump stunned the nation and the world Tuesday morning, firing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson via a tweet.
Kelly, who found out about The Times's article after he was contacted by reporters, reportedly called Shulkin following the interview and believed the secretary exploited the White House meeting, Axios reported. Per Axios's Jonathan Swan, back in February, Shulkin met with Chief of Staff John Kelly, who agreed to lend him a hand with staffing woes-not to authorize a so-called purge.
Following an outbreak of negative press coverage, Shulkin hired additional lawyers and an outside public-relations firm to fend off reports of internal quibbles and to help with the fallout. Shulkin pulled a similar move last week, meeting with Kelly and subsequently calling up The New York Times to declare victory.
Shulkin also is bracing for an upcoming VA watchdog report, due for release by summer that focuses in part on whether he used his 24-7 security detail for personal errands.
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