White House announces changes in press office

The White House is shaking up its communications staff with a pair of promotions and one new addition, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday.

Sanders told CBS News that Steven Groves will join the press team to handle issues related to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and legislative affairs. He will handle the White House response to congressional investigations into the administration, Sanders said.

Groves joined the White House in 2017 as an assistant special counsel. Prior to that, he served as chief of staff to former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) Haley40 years of Iranian threats against Israel and few pay any attention Nikki Haley endorses term limits for Congress Pelosi: Kim 'big winner' of North Korea talks MORE.


His transition comes as the House Oversight and Reform Committee has already launched an investigation into the White House security clearance process, and lawmakers have expressed a desire to examine the president's finances and the administration's response to Hurricane Maria, along with other subjects. 

In addition to Groves joining the staff, Sanders told CBS that White House spokesman Hogan Gidley has been promoted to principal deputy press secretary. He has essentially filled that role since Raj Shah was reassigned to handle communications around Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughGeorgia's heartbeat abortion bill is dangerous for women nationwide Senate votes to confirm Neomi Rao to appeals court Battle over Trump's judicial nominees enters new phase MORE's nomination.

Shah has since left the White House, and earlier this year was announced as the co-leader of the new strategic communications division of Ballard Partners.

Judd Deere has been promoted to deputy press secretary, with a focus on energy, NASA and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Sanders said. Deere previously served as the director of state communications in the White House.

The White House later on Thursday formally announced the changes. 

The White House press staff has seen much of the same turnover as the rest of the Trump administration. Former press secretary Sean SpicerSean Michael SpicerThe five Trump communications directors who have come and gone New York state officials subpoena Trump Org's longtime insurance broker The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump fires back at new Dem probe MORE departed the role in July 2017, and former communications director Anthony ScaramucciAnthony ScaramucciThe five Trump communications directors who have come and gone White House spokeswoman leaving to join PR firm White House announces changes in press office MORE had a notoriously short-lived tenure that same summer.

Hope HicksHope Charlotte HicksThe five Trump communications directors who have come and gone Hillicon Valley: Dems unleash sprawling Trump probe | Pelosi says Dems will offer net neutrality bill this week | Cyber espionage campaign linked to North Korea | Huawei exec sues Canada The 81 names targeted in Democrats' expansive Trump probe MORE and Josh Raffel left their roles on the communications team in 2018.