Updated Jan 19, 2020

White House national security official on leave pending investigation

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Andrew Peek, the senior director for European and Russian affairs at the National Security Council, has been placed on administrative leave pending a security-related investigation, people familiar with the situation tell Axios.

Driving the news: Peek had been expected to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland next week, where President Trump is expected to meet with a number of world leaders as the impeachment trial takes place back in the Senate.

  • Peek declined to comment.
  • White House and National Security Council officials declined to discuss the situation. "We do not discuss personnel matters," the NSC said in a statement to Axios.

Why it matters: Peek's responsibilities at the NSC, and before that at the State Department, touch on a number of sensitive areas. He took on the same role as impeachment witnesses Fiona Hill and Tim Morrison.

  • He joined the NSC in November after serving as a deputy assistant secretary at the State Department, where he focused on Iraq and Iran.
  • He previously served as a strategic adviser to now-retired Marine Gen. John Allen when Allen was commander of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

Go deeper: NSC staffer denies having secret Ukraine conversations with Trump

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National Security Council says no other White House staffers saw Bolton manuscript

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The National Security Council denied Monday that any White House personnel outside of its purview had seen the manuscript of former national security adviser John Bolton's book that was submitted to the White House for review.

"Ambassador Bolton’s manuscript was submitted to the NSC for pre-publication review and has been under initial review by the NSC. No White House personnel outside NSC have reviewed the manuscript."
— National Security Council spokesperson John Ullyot

Why it matters: Given that White House counsel Pat Cipollone is not part of the NSC, this statement appears to double as an on-the-record denial that anyone on President Trump's impeachment defense team reviewed Bolton's manuscript.

Go deeperArrowJan 27, 2020

Diplomats, national security experts decry Trump's Mideast peace plan

A general view from Nablus in the occupied West Bank of the eastern valley. Photo: Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP via Getty Images)

30 former foreign policy and national security officials from three administrations published an “open letter” harshly criticizing the Trump Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.

Why it matters: The signatories, who served under George W. Bush, Clinton and Obama, criticized the plan as harming U.S. interests, giving Israel “a green light” for annexation in the West Bank and possibly turning Israel into a binational state.

Go deeperArrowJan 31, 2020 - World

Trump to attend Davos amid impeachment trial

President boarding Air Force One on Jan. 14. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump departs for Davos, Switzerland, on Monday night to attend the World Economic Forum, placing him thousands of miles away from Washington as the Senate hashes out the rules of his impeachment trial.

Why it matters: Senators on Tuesday will determine the rules that dictate the course of the trial, including how much time lawyers will have to make arguments and whether witnesses will be able to testify.

Go deeperArrowJan 20, 2020