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 HaleyNikki HaleyHaley praises Trump CPAC speech after breaking with him over Capitol riot Poll shows most GOP voters back Trump 2024 bid The Memo: CPAC fires starting gun on 2024 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 KavanaughSupreme Court faces landmark challenge on voting rights Will 'Cover-up Cuomo' be marching to 'Jail to the Chief'? The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump teases on 2024 run 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 SpicerPsaki signals she's open to reviving 'Skype seats' amid pandemic Newsmax rescinds Spicer's White House Correspondents' Association application: report Sean Spicer applies to join White House Correspondents' Association MORE departed the role in July 2017, and former communications director Anthony ScaramucciAnthony ScaramucciBiden doubles down on normal at White House Pence, other GOP officials expected to skip Trump send-off Kelly says Trump can't admit to making mistakes: 'His manhood is at issue here' MORE had a notoriously short-lived tenure that same summer.

Hope HicksHope HicksUPDATED: McEnany, Fox News talks on pause Trump selects Hicks, Bondi, Grenell and other allies for positions Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis tests positive for coronavirus MORE and Josh Raffel left their roles on the communications team in 2018.