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) HaleyJuan Williams: Why does Trump fear GOP voters? Can Carl DeMaio save the California GOP? Treasury: US deficit tops trillion in 11 months 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 KavanaughTrump dismisses NYT explanation on Kavanaugh correction Kavanaugh impeachment push hits Capitol buzz saw Katie Pavlich: The Democrats' desperate do-overs 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 SpicerSpicer on 'Dancing with the Stars': 'Those of us who stand for #Christ won't be discounted' Spicer makes debut on 'Dancing With the Stars' to Spice Girls song Merriam-Webster: A 200-year-old dictionary offers hot political takes on Twitter MORE departed the role in July 2017, and former communications director Anthony ScaramucciAnthony ScaramucciTrump blasts 'Mr. Tough Guy' Bolton: 'He made some very big mistakes' Trump's mental decline is perfectly clear for those with eyes to see and ears to hear Scaramucci calls Trump a 'full-blown demagogue' MORE had a notoriously short-lived tenure that same summer.

Hope HicksHope Charlotte HicksTrump: 'Top shows' on Fox News, cable are 'Fair (or great)' to me Trump criticizes Fox, which 'isn't working for us anymore' Sarah Huckabee Sanders becomes Fox News contributor MORE and Josh Raffel left their roles on the communications team in 2018.