Top Trump administration officials who said farewell in 2018

By Kathryn Watson

/ CBS News

Trump orders Mattis off the job by Jan. 1

To declare 2018 a busy year in the Trump administration, both in terms of major policy shifts and major staffing changes, would be an understatement.

As President Trump approaches his halfway mark in his term, his Cabinet and list of top advisers will look quite different at the start of 2019 than at the start of 2018. But since it's tough for even those keeping close tabs on the changes at the White House and throughout the executive branch, here's a refresher on all of the top officials who will be out by the time the ball drops in Times Square.

James Mattis

Mattis, who joined in the Trump administration in the first days as defense secretary, officially leaves at midnight. He handed his letter of resignation over to Mr. Trump on Dec. 20 and intended to stay on till February, but the president moved up his departure date.

Nikki Haley

Haley announced in October that she'd be departing from the role of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations at the end of the year. She is being replaced by former State Department spokeswoman and former Fox News host Heather Nauert.

Jeff Sessions

Sessions' departure was long speculated, as the president repeatedly ridiculed his attorney general for not defending him more vigorously. Mr. Trump finally took the day after the November midterm elections to announce Sessions' departure. In his resignation letter, Sessions noted he was leaving at the president's request. Sessions was replaced by Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker, while Mr. Trump's more permanent pick for the job, William Barr, awaits confirmation.

John Kelly

President Trump abruptly announced his chief of staff John Kelly's impending departure on the White House South Lawn on Dec. 8. Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney is replacing Kelly for now, although it's unclear if he will remain in that role for long. Kelly officially leaves the administration at the turn of the year.

Don McGahn

McGahn served as the White House counsel until this fall. Mr. Trump replaced him with Pat Cipollone.

Scott Pruitt

Pruitt, the embattled former head of the Environmental Protection Agency who faced a slew of federal investigations, resigned in June. He has been replaced by Acting EPA Secretary Andrew Wheeler.

Ryan Zinke

Mr. Trump announced Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke would be leaving earlier this month, but has yet to announce his replacement, as the president said he would the following week. Zinke is out at the end of 2018, meaning the Interior Department will have no permanent secretary as it lacks funding in the partial shutdown.

Andrew McCabe

Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe was fired by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions in March. Mr. Trump was vocal about his dislike for McCabe, who was criticized in an inspector general report.

Hope Hicks

Hicks, the president's longtime confidant and White House communications director, left that role in March. Hicks went on to work as an executive at Fox.

David Shulkin

Mr. Trump announced his then-Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin would be leaving in a March tweet. The White House said Shulkin quit, although Shulkin claimed he was fired. Mr. Trump attempted to replace Shulkin with his White House doctor, Ronny Jackson, but that pick ended in failure over controversy about Jackson's conduct. Shulkin was ultimately replaced by Robert Wilkie as Veterans Affairs secretary.

Rex Tillerson

Mr. Trump announced the departure of then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in March while Tillerson was on his way back from a trip abroad. Mr. Trump and Tillerson were known to clash. Mr. Trump replaced Tillerson with Mike Pompeo, the current secretary of state.

Gary Cohn

Cohn served as Mr. Trump's top economic adviser until March, when he stepped down amid disagreements with Mr. Trump on tariffs. Cohn was against the trade war that Mr. Trump seemed intent on entering. Cohn was replaced by Larry Kudlow, who still serves as the president's top economic adviser.

Rob Porter

Porter was the formerly little-known White House staff secretary who became the focus of controversy in January 2018, when his two ex-wives leveled allegations of abuse. Under public scrutiny and pressure, Porter resigned in February.

Marc Short

Short left his post as the White House's director of legislative affairs in July. He now works for the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs.

H.R. McMaster

Mr. Trump announced the departure of then-national security adviser H.R. McMaster on Twitter in March. McMaster was replaced by the current national security adviser, John Bolton.

Dina Powell

Powell, formerly the deputy national security adviser, left the White House in early 2018. Her departure was announced in December 2017.

John McEntee

The president's personal assistant, John McEntee, was fired because he was under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security for financial crimes, as CBS News confirmed in March. But then Mr. Trump's reelection campaign quickly announced that McEntee had been hired as a senior adviser.

Michael Anton

Anton was the top spokesman for the National Security Council until he announced his departure in April. His departure coincided with John Bolton's arrival as the head of the NSC.

Omarosa Manigault Newman

Former "Apprentice" star Omarosa Manigault Newman's departure was announced in late 2017, but she stayed on the White House payroll well into January 2018. Her name resurfaced in the headlines when she released a book on her time in the White House.

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First published on December 31, 2018

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Kathryn Watson

Kathryn Watson is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.

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