Top National Security Council aide moved to Energy Department role

Source: The Hill | February 20, 2020 | Morgan Chalfant

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 Trump.

“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.

Coates, a former adviser to Sen. Ted Cruz (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 Perry at the end of last year.

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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” 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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