WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 24: Chief Strategist Steve Bannon follows U.S. President Donald Trump walks into the Oval Office after arriving back at the White House, on February 24, 2017 in Washington, DC. President Trump made the short trip to National Harbor in Maryland to speak at CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Mark Wilson/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 24: Chief Strategist Steve Bannon follows U.S. President Donald Trump walks into the Oval Office after arriving back at the White House, on February 24, 2017 in Washington, DC. President Trump made the short trip to National Harbor in Maryland to speak at CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:15
Steve Bannon out as WH chief strategist
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 14: United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley listens during a United Nations Security Council emergency meeting concerning the situation in Syria, at United Nations headquarters, April 14, 2018 in New York City.  Yesterday the United States and European allies Britain and France launched airstrikes in Syria as punishment for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's suspected role in last week's chemical weapons attacks that killed upwards of 40 people. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 14: United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley listens during a United Nations Security Council emergency meeting concerning the situation in Syria, at United Nations headquarters, April 14, 2018 in New York City. Yesterday the United States and European allies Britain and France launched airstrikes in Syria as punishment for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's suspected role in last week's chemical weapons attacks that killed upwards of 40 people. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Now playing
03:04
UN Ambassador Nikki Haley resigns
President Donald J. Trump talks on the phone in the Oval Office receiving the latest updates from Capitol Hill on negotiations to end the Democrats government shutdown, Saturday, January 20, 2018, at the White House in Washington, D.C.
Joyce N. Boghosian/White House
President Donald J. Trump talks on the phone in the Oval Office receiving the latest updates from Capitol Hill on negotiations to end the Democrats government shutdown, Saturday, January 20, 2018, at the White House in Washington, D.C.
Now playing
02:40
The high-profile exits since Trump took office
former Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius
CNN
former Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius
Now playing
02:15
Fmr. ambassador resigned in protest of Trump
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 13: President Donald Trump's motorcade arrives at the White House on May 13, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)
Zach Gibson/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 13: President Donald Trump's motorcade arrives at the White House on May 13, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:51
White House deputy chief of staff to leave
Tom Bossert speaks at the White House press briefing on Thursday, August 31
CNN
Tom Bossert speaks at the White House press briefing on Thursday, August 31
Now playing
02:32
Source: John Bolton pushed out Tom Bossert
David Shulkin newday 04022018
CNN
David Shulkin newday 04022018
Now playing
00:47
Shulkin: I was fired by a tweet
National security adviser H.R. McMaster waves as he walks into the West Wing of the White House in Washington, Friday, March 16, 2018.
Susan Walsh/AP
National security adviser H.R. McMaster waves as he walks into the West Wing of the White House in Washington, Friday, March 16, 2018.
Now playing
01:57
Trump replaces McMaster with Fox News analyst
Getty Images/Chris Kleponis-Pool/Chip Somodevilla
Now playing
01:57
Trump celebrates McCabe firing on Twitter
pool
Now playing
01:44
Tillerson speaks after being fired
John McEntee, special assistant and personal aide follows US President Donald Trump to Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base September 27, 2017 in Maryland. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski        (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
John McEntee, special assistant and personal aide follows US President Donald Trump to Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base September 27, 2017 in Maryland. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:33
Longtime Trump aide John McEntee fired
CNN
Now playing
02:09
How to succeed as Trump's communications director
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 28: Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn waits to speak during the daily news briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, September 28, 2017 in Washington, DC. Cohn discussed the administration's plans  for reforming the tax code. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 28: Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn waits to speak during the daily news briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, September 28, 2017 in Washington, DC. Cohn discussed the administration's plans for reforming the tax code. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:58
Gary Cohn to resign as WH economic adviser
US President Donald Trump (L) congratulates Senior Counselor to the President Stephen Bannon during the swearing-in of senior staff in the East Room of the White House on January 22, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN        (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
US President Donald Trump (L) congratulates Senior Counselor to the President Stephen Bannon during the swearing-in of senior staff in the East Room of the White House on January 22, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:15
Trump: Steve Bannon cried when he got fired
 The White House is shown during departure by President Donald Trump for the congressional Gold Medal ceremony for former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole at the U.S. Capitol January 17, 2018 in Washington D.C. (Al Drago-Pool/Getty Images)
Pool/Getty Images
The White House is shown during departure by President Donald Trump for the congressional Gold Medal ceremony for former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole at the U.S. Capitol January 17, 2018 in Washington D.C. (Al Drago-Pool/Getty Images)
Now playing
00:51
Second WH aide resigns after abuse accusations
Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand, on Friday, February 2, 2018, will host a summit at the Department of Justice in the Great Hall to discuss Department of Justice efforts to combat human trafficking.   Speakers:  Attorney General Jeff Sessions;  Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand;  Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen;  Business and Community leaders from around the country.   The event runs all day - from 9am - 4:45pm. We do not have a tick tock for speakers, so we need to shoot the entire day (obviously we care the most about Sessions and Nielsen). Laura Jarrett will attend this event as the producer and can write for digital.   Cameras need to be preset by 8am for this event   NOTE: All media must have government-issued photo I.D. (e.g. Driver's License), as well as valid media credentials. Media may begin arriving at 8:00 A.M. for security clearance. Please RSVP to Lauren Ehrsam by 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 1, 2018 at Lauren.Ehrsam@usdoj.gov.
POOL
Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand, on Friday, February 2, 2018, will host a summit at the Department of Justice in the Great Hall to discuss Department of Justice efforts to combat human trafficking. Speakers: Attorney General Jeff Sessions; Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand; Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen; Business and Community leaders from around the country. The event runs all day - from 9am - 4:45pm. We do not have a tick tock for speakers, so we need to shoot the entire day (obviously we care the most about Sessions and Nielsen). Laura Jarrett will attend this event as the producer and can write for digital. Cameras need to be preset by 8am for this event NOTE: All media must have government-issued photo I.D. (e.g. Driver's License), as well as valid media credentials. Media may begin arriving at 8:00 A.M. for security clearance. Please RSVP to Lauren Ehrsam by 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 1, 2018 at Lauren.Ehrsam@usdoj.gov.
Now playing
01:58
NYT: Senior DOJ official steps down

Story highlights

Steve Bannon's exit comes just seven months after Donald Trump took office

The White House chief strategist joined Trump's campaign last year

(CNN) —  

President Donald Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon has been fired, multiple White House officials told CNN on Friday.

Sources told CNN that Bannon’s ouster had been in the works for two weeks and a source said that while Bannon was given the option to resign, he was ultimately forced out. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed Bannon’s departure, but claimed the decision for him to leave was mutual.

“White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve’s last day. We are grateful for his service and wish him the best,” Sanders said in a statement.

The President has privately stewed over Bannon in recent days, including Thursday night from his golf course in New Jersey. He was furious with his chief strategist after he was quoted in an interview with the American Prospect contradicting Trump on North Korea and asserting that Bannon was able to make personnel changes at the State Department.

On Saturday morning, however, the President tweeted out his thanks to Bannon: “I want to thank Steve Bannon for his service. He came to the campaign during my run against Crooked Hillary Clinton - it was great! Thanks S.”

Bannon’s exit comes just seven months after Trump took office and three weeks after retired Gen. Kelly took over as chief of staff, looking to instill order in a chaotic White House beset by internal divisions, staff infighting and a storm of controversies.

Bannon’s exit meant one of the White House’s most controversial staffers, the man generally perceived as the driving force behind Trump’s “nationalist” ideology, would no longer be at the center of the Trump universe.

Bannon joined Trump’s campaign last year, moving from the sidelines as one of Trump’s top cheerleaders to a position atop his campaign apparatus.

He did not travel with the President during the first week of what White House officials described as a “working vacation” at Trump’s golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey. Instead Bannon remained in Washington where he worked out of a temporary office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building as the West Wing underwent renovations.

Bannon was supposed to be fired two weeks ago, a White House official told CNN’s Jeff Zeleny, but it was put off.

CNN reports the President equivocated after an initial plan was to fire Bannon and then-Chief of Staff Reince Priebus at same time, the official says, because Rep. Mark Meadows, the influential chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, and others urged Trump to keep him on board.

The interview this week was enough for Meadows to change his view, a person close to him says.

What Bannon is thinking

After his firing Friday, Bannon spoke to The Weekly Standard, making a pointed case that the Trump presidency that his brand of populist, right-wing conservatives helped make possible is now “over.”

“We still have a huge movement, and we will make something of this Trump presidency,” Bannon told The Weekly Standard. “But that presidency is over. It’ll be something else. And there’ll be all kinds of fights, and there’ll be good days and bad days, but that presidency is over.”

The question now is whether Bannon will be an ally or a thorn in the side of the Trump administration outside the White House, where he has apparently already returned to his role as head of Breitbart, the right-wing news site he ran until he joined Trump’s campaign a year ago.

However that unfolds, Bannon is expected to remain tightly connected to the billionaire conservative father-daughter pair Robert and Rebekah Mercer, who are major investors in Breitbart News and top Trump donors.

Bannon returned to the role of executive chairman of Breitbart News and chaired the evening editorial meeting, the publication’s White House correspondent reported Friday evening.

Both Bannon and Trump spoke with the Mercers in recent days, a White House official said.

A White House ally who has talked to Bannon said the outgoing chief strategist does not want to go to war with Trump. Bannon is making that clear to close associates in response to Breitbart editor Joel Pollak tweeting #WAR.

“That’s not where Steve’s head is at,” this source said. “He’s been fighting for the exact same things that the President has been fighting for.”

This source quoted Bannon as saying “I want (Trump) to succeed.”

Still, as his firing appeared increasingly likely, Bannon downplayed concerns about being booted from the White House and argued that he would be a more powerful force from the outside, sources close to Bannon said.

He has privately told associates he would return to his “killing machine” – Breitbart – if he was forced to leave for the White House and has said he would be able to more easily target some of his White House rivals – like chief economic adviser Gary Cohn and national security adviser H.R. McMaster – from the outside, the sources said.

Bannon has also worked in recent weeks to put the pieces in place for his agenda to live on without him at the White House, working on hardline trade initiatives in his final weeks.

After pushing the President to start the process of investigating Chinese trade abuses, Bannon also laid the groundwork for a series of aggressive trade actions designed to impose a harder line against China, the sources said.

In his final days at the White House, Bannon was continuing to work up schedules for the rollout of trade initiatives that would come in September, long after he expected to be forced from the White House, the sources said.

“We’re going to run the tables on these guys,” Bannon told The American Prospect in an interview earlier this week.

A quick and contentious tenure

Bannon’s turbulent White House tenure was marked by controversy.

In the administration, Bannon frequently butted heads with other advisers to the President, feuding with son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, chief economic adviser Cohn and other more moderate members of the President’s administration whom Bannon branded as “globalists.”

Bannon was often suspected by colleagues of badmouthing them to reporters and he rubbed colleagues the wrong way by attempting to ramrod his ideological positions.

“Steve was never a team player,” a senior administration official said.

Bannon viewed himself as the populist defender of Trump’s campaign promises in the White House, working daily to tick off items from the list of promises that hung on the walls of his West Wing office.

Bannon focused especially on pushing a hardline trade agenda, recently working to cue up a series of trade policies to aggressively target Chinese foreign trade abuses and work toward rebalancing the trading relationship between the US and China.

Bannon was an influential voice inside the White House, feeding and encouraging Trump’s nationalist and populist instincts.

In the process, he garnered an infamous reputation as a puppet master pulling the strings in the Oval Office, with pop culture portrayals ranging from the moniker “President Bannon” to his depiction as the grim reaper on “Saturday Night Live.” Those portrayals – coupled with a Time Magazine cover that declared him “the great manipulator” – often angered Trump, who chafes at being outshined.

But the reality is that while Bannon was an influential figure at Trump’s side, he was hardly the all-powerful aide so many sought to portray him as.

He did not always come out victorious in his feuds with fellow White House aides and Trump did not always heed his counsel.

Still, Bannon served as a daily reminder to Trump of his populist campaign promises and his bellicose political instincts. Bannon’s rivals in the White House argued that he encouraged the President’s worst instincts, while his allies said he was keeping the soul of Trump’s movement alive.

The fiery chief strategist also led the charge against proposals by national security officials to deepen US military involvement in Afghanistan, feuding vocally during meetings of the National Security Council with McMaster and working behind the scenes to water down hawkish proposals for troop increases and a longer-term US military commitment.

The President is meeting Friday with members of his national security team at Camp David to consider options for the future of the US war in Afghanistan as he nears a decision, but Bannon is not there – and was not scheduled to be, based on a list of attendees the White House sent out Friday morning.

This story is breaking and will update with additional news.

CORRECTION: This graphic has been updated to reflect Shaub’s duration on staff for the Trump administration. He was on staff 180 days.

CLARIFICATION: This graphic has been updated to clarify Scaramucci’s and Comey’s duration on staff based on the their start and end dates. They stayed on staff 11 days and 110 days, respectively.

CNN’s Jim Acosta, Jeff Zeleny, Miranda Green, Gloria Borger and Eli Watkins contributed to this report.