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Dina Powell leaving Trump White House
Deputy national security adviser Dina Powell will step down from her position early next year, the White House said Friday.
Powell, who took on the role in March, is among several aides expected to leave the administration following President Trump's first year in office. She is in talks to continue advising Trump from the outside.
Powell is leaving on good terms and chose to depart on her own, according to The Washington Post, which first reported her exit.
"Dina Powell has been a key, trusted advisor in this administration," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. "She has always planned to serve one year before returning home to New York, where she will continue to support the president's agenda and work on Middle East policy."
The aide's family resides in New York and did not relocate with her to D.C. when she took the job.
Powell "will serve in the administration until early next year," Sanders said.
Still, some officials see her departure as a major loss for a White House that has struggled to secure legislative victories and has operated under the cloud of investigations on Russia's involvement in last year's election.
Powell's departure could also signal the beginning of an exodus of top administration officials at the one-year mark of the Trump presidency, which has been marked by infighting and chaos.
Secretary of State of Rex Tillerson has been rumored to be leaving the administration in the coming weeks, part of a White House plan that would reportedly install CIA Director Mike Pompeo in his place.
Tillerson and Trump have denied the reports.
Powell, a former George W. Bush White House official and Goldman Sachs managing director, entered the Trump administration last spring with great fanfare. She has long been linked to White House economic adviser Gary Cohn, another former Goldman Sachs executive who some have speculated could be on his way out of the administration.
National security adviser H.R. McMaster called Powell "one of the most talented and effective leaders with whom I have ever served."
"Dina has been an invaluable member of President Trump's team," he said in a statement. "Her sage advice helped provide options to the president and her strong relationships across the U.S. government and internationally helped drive execution of the president's decisions."
She became a key player on various foreign policy issues, especially the Middle East, and became a prominent member of a camp of aides allied with Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.
That group of advisers frequently sparred with the nationalist wing of the White House formerly led by ex-chief strategist Stephen Bannon over policy and personnel decisions.
Powell was once rumored to be in the running for the job of White House chief of staff, a job that eventually went to retired Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly.
Still, she played a major role in organizing the president's foreign trips and helped Kushner's team develop a strategy for Middle East peace.
"Dina has done a great job for the administration and has been a valued member of the Israeli-Palestinian peace team," Kushner said in a statement. "She will continue to play a key role in our peace efforts and we will share more details on that in the future."
Those peace efforts, however, suffered a blow in the eyes of many experts when Trump decided to declare that the U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The decision was a gesture to Trump's domestic political supporters, but was condemned by many leaders in the Arab world and Europe.
When she joined the White House, Powell offered a wealth of government experience at a time when the Trump administration was struggling to find its footing.
She directed the office of presidential personnel in the Bush White House, which was tasked with identifying hundreds of political appointees and top staffers across the federal government.
Powell, who speaks Arabic and moved to the United States from Egypt at the age of 4, traveled throughout the Middle East as a State Department adviser in the Bush administration before leaving for the private sector.