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) HaleyTennessee primary battle turns nasty for Republicans The 'pitcher of warm spit' — Veepstakes and the fate of Mike Pence On The Trail: The first signs of a post-Trump GOP 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 KavanaughMcConnell has 17-point lead over Democratic challenger McGrath: poll Davis: My recommendation for vice president on Biden ticket Kavanaugh urged Supreme Court to avoid decisions on Trump finances, abortion: report 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 Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Supreme Court's unanimous decision on the Electoral College Juan Williams: Trump's base begins to crack Bolton denies saying he will back Biden over Trump in November MORE departed the role in July 2017, and former communications director Anthony ScaramucciAnthony ScaramucciThe Memo: Convention cancellation adds to Trump's troubles Trump's fight with city leaders escalates Scaramucci fundraising for the Lincoln Project: I hope Trump is 'humiliated' in November MORE had a notoriously short-lived tenure that same summer.

Hope HicksHope Charlotte HicksCuomo turned down Trump invitation to participate in April press briefing: report Trump shakes up White House communications team Meadows joins White House facing reelection challenges MORE and Josh Raffel left their roles on the communications team in 2018.