Feb 20, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Top NSC official reassigned to Energy Department amid "Anonymous" fallout

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates will be reassigned as a senior adviser to Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette, the National Security Council said Thursday — and a senior White House official said that the administration "rejects" the rumors that she is "Anonymous."

Why it matters: Coates has battled claims that she is the still-unknown Trump administration official that penned a New York Times op-ed and book critical of President Trump.

  • Coates has vehemently denied the charges, which strained her working relationship with national security adviser Robert O'Brien, to colleagues.
  • The decision confirms Axios' reporting that such a move was being considered earlier this week.

What they're saying: "The White House leadership rejects rumors that have circulated recently and does not put any stock in the suggestion that Victoria Coates is the author of 'A Warning' or the related op-ed in the New York Times," says a senior administration official.

  • "Dr. Coates’ transition to the Department of Energy has been in the works for several weeks and reflects the continued trust and confidence the administration places in her as she takes on this sensitive role at the Department of Energy, where she will continue working to implement the president’s agenda," the official added.
  • O'Brien said: "While I’m sad to lose an important member of our team, Victoria will be a big asset to Secretary Brouillette as he executes the president’s energy security policy priorities.  She has served the president loyally since the earliest days of the administration and has played a valued role in the President’s Middle East policy."

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Why it matters: The memoir, which claims that President Trump linked Ukraine aid to investigations of his political rivals, was at the heart of Trump's impeachment inquiry — although Bolton ultimately never testified before the House or Senate. The Trump administration says that it is reviewing the book's content to ensure it does not endanger national security, though Bolton publicly worried last month that the White House may use the review process to suppress its publication.