Defense

Ex-Nunes aide linked to Biden conspiracy theories will lead Pentagon transition

A former congressional aide who rose to prominence helping House Republicans attempt to discredit the investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia will lead the Pentagon's transition to the next administration, the Defense Department confirmed Tuesday.

Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and a loyalist to President Trump, will be the "touchpoint" for acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller and ensure he "has insight into what's going on and to make sure that the transition is successful," top Defense spokesman Jonathan Hoffman told reporters.

CNN first reported on Patel's new role.

Patel has been in the Pentagon for two weeks, serving as chief of staff to Miller. He was installed days after Trump fired Mark Esper as Defense secretary. Esper's former chief of staff Jen Stewart resigned a day after he left.

When working for Nunes, Patel was linked to efforts to spread conspiracy theories about former Vice President Joe Biden, according to evidence uncovered by the House impeachment inquiry.

Before becoming Miller's chief of staff, Patel served as senior director for counterterrorism for Trump's National Security Council. He also worked in the office of former acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell.

With the Government Services Administration on Monday formally acknowledging Biden's election win, Trump administration officials are now allowed to speak with the incoming Biden team and coordinate a changeover.

Tom Muir, the director of Washington Headquarters Services, has taken on the role as director of the Defense Department transition task force, he told reporters at the Pentagon on Tuesday. He will be in charge of providing office space, communications and access to information for the incoming administration.

Muir said that the head of Biden's team reached out to him the night prior and the two had their first meeting Tuesday morning via teleconference.

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