White House lawyer Michael Ellis is the new senior director for intelligence on the National Security Council, and will be in charge of overseeing critical functions in the intelligence community, CNN reports.
Ellis, who was deputy to White House attorney John Eisenberg and counsel to the House Intelligence Committee during the Republican majority, replaces Marc Polymeropoulos, who spent more than 25 years with the Central Intelligence Agency before he retired from the Senior Intelligence Service last June. According to Polymeropoulos, the job “traditionally has gone to a senior member of the intelligence community, such as the CIA, the State Department, or NSA. It was an apolitical position, coveted and also seen as highly career advancing.”
He added that “managing the interagency process on covert action as well as advising the national security adviser on this key aspect of American power took finesse and skill.”
Politico notes that Ellis, who joined the White House counsel’s office in 2017, is reportedly one of the officials who provided former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., with information that spurred his investigation into surveillance on President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.
The House Intelligence Committee requested that Ellis testify in the Trump impeachment probe last November, after Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman told lawmakers that he and Eisenberg made the decision to move the record of the president’s phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart into a server for classified material. Ellis defied a House subpoena and refused to appear at his deposition.
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