"I spoke directly to the president last night", Sanders said.
In addition, there is published speculation that National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster could be the latest Trump official to step down even though the administration is denying such speculation.
The on-again, off-again reports about H.R. McMaster are continuing.
Kelly acknowledged to the reporters it's likely that Trump is talking to people outside the White House and that reporters are then talking to those people. Sanders insisted McMaster is key in handling matters of national security.
"We should do exactly what we do every day and that's to come to work and do the very best that we can", she said.
McMaster is not the only senior official on thin ice with the president.
"General McMaster is a dedicated public servant, and he is here focused. on some really big issues - things like North Korea, things like Russian Federation, things like Iran", she said.
McMaster went to the White House to head the National Security Council just more than a year ago, in February 2017, replacing Michael Flynn, the former military intelligence officer who had been Trump's national security aide during the campaign.
In private conversations in recent weeks, Trump has reflected on his desire to reshape the administration.
Goldstein was sacked shortly after that for contradicting the official White House account of Tillerson's ouster.
McMaster is traveling to California today to meet Saturday with his counterparts from South Korea and Japan to continue discussions on North Korea, their third such meeting, a White House official said.
That scholarly approach was typical of a man who in 1997 published a widely read book, "Dereliction of Duty", based on his doctoral thesis and critical of American strategy and military leadership during the Vietnam War.
Trump has also complained that McMaster's briefings were too long and seemed irrelevant, according to reports.
In recent weeks, McMaster played a central role in responding to messages from South Korea about North Korea's willingness to meet with the USA officials.