Top National Security Council aide moved to Energy Department role

Top National Security Council aide moved to Energy Department role
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The White House said Thursday that deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates would be reassigned to a top advisory position at the Energy Department.

The White House characterized the change as one that had been in the works “for several weeks” and sternly rejected rumors that Coates is the anonymous author who penned a New York Times op-ed and subsequent book critical of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump orders US troops back to active duty for coronavirus response Trump asserts power to decide info inspector general for stimulus gives Congress Fighting a virus with the wrong tools MORE.

“The White House leadership rejects rumors that have circulated recently and does not put any stock in the suggestion that Victoria Coates is the author of Anonymous: A Warning or the related Op-Ed in the New York Times,” a senior administration official said Thursday.

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Coates, a former adviser to Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTrump faces mounting pressure to unleash Defense Production Act Overnight Energy: House stimulus aims to stem airline pollution | Environmental measures become sticking point in Senate talks | Progressives propose T 'green stimulus' GOP blames environmental efforts, but Democrats see public health problems with stimulus MORE (R-Texas) who has served as deputy national security adviser for Middle East and North Africa since early 2017, is joining the Energy Department as a senior adviser to newly confirmed Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette, who took over for Rick PerryRick PerryThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump takes unexpected step to stem coronavirus Top National Security Council aide moved to Energy Department role Overnight Energy: Green groups to sue over Trump rollback of Obama water rules | GOP climate plan faces pushback from right | Bezos launches B climate initiative MORE at the end of last year.

“Dr. Coates’ transition to the Department of Energy has been in the works for several weeks and reflects the continued trust and confidence the Administration places in her as she takes on this sensitive role at the Department of Energy, where she will continue working to implement the President’s agenda,” the senior administration official said.

Coates’s reassignment was first reported by Axios on Thursday morning. The news outlet previously reported that the move was being considered and that Coates’s relationship with national security adviser Robert O’Brien had been strained as a result of efforts by some to brand her as the controversial "Anonymous: A Warning" author. Coates had been elevated under O'Brien, who took over as national security adviser last September.

The anonymous writer’s identity is not publicly known, but has been the subject of intense speculation since the purported “senior administration official” penned the September 2018 op-ed in the Times declaring themself part of the “resistance” within the Trump administration.

Trump on Tuesday claimed to know the identity of the anonymous official, who also released a book earlier this year, but said he couldn’t reveal it.

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"It’s not so much a search. I know who it is," the president said when asked by reporters whether there was an ongoing effort to discover the person’s identity.

Brouillette cheered Coates’s move in a statement, saying she would play an “important role on our team.”

O’Brien said he was “sad” to lose Coates from the National Security Council, but that she would be an asset for Brouillette in the area of energy security policy.

“She has served the President loyally since the earliest days of the Administration and has played a valued role in the President’s Middle East policy,” O’Brien said.