Biden aide charges "sabotage" of Harris after flood of damaging leaks - Axios

Top White House officials are mobilizing to defend Vice President Kamala Harris amid a gusher of leaks about dysfunction and infighting in her office.

Driving the news: White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain told Axios in a statement: "The President's trust and confidence in her is obvious when you see them in the Oval Office together." Biden senior adviser Cedric Richmond said in an interview late Thursday night: "It’s a whisper campaign designed to sabotage her."

Details: Their responses came after Axios approached the White House with new reporting about growing tensions between West Wing officials and the Harris team, including chief of staff Tina Flournoy.

Why it matters: 2024 is the elephant in the room. While Biden aides overwhelmingly believe he'll be the Democratic nominee, they also know he'd be 81 when seeking re-election.

Yet many Democrats, including some current senior administration officials, are concerned she could not defeat whomever the Republican Party puts up — even if it were Donald Trump.

What we're hearing: Relations between the West Wing and the Vice President's office are tense.

Case in point: A few months ago, what should have been a no-brainer of a press request came to the vice president's office. Forbes wanted to feature Harris on the cover of its "50 Over 50" issue — saluting her rise to be the "first woman, the first Black person, and the first South Asian-American to become U.S. vice president."

What they're saying: Harris' senior adviser, Symone Sanders, and deputy chief of staff Michael Fuchs defended Harris and Flournoy. Harris' team notes the president has entrusted the V.P. with a portfolio that includes voting rights, migration from Central America, space, labor, broadband, small-business assistance and women in the workforce.

Klain praised Harris and her team as "off to the fastest and strongest start of any Vice President I have seen," and said "her talents and determination have made a huge difference" already.

Richmond called Harris a "staunch advocate for the Biden-Harris agenda," and said demand for her participation in events remains high.