President Donald Trump fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Monday, in a tweet, and it wasn't the only big personal change.
"The Pentagon general counsel has named a White House official and former GOP political operative to be the top lawyer at the National Security Agency, the U.S. government’s largest and most technically-advanced spy agency, U.S. officials said. The selection of Michael Ellis, which has not yet been announced, was made Monday, said officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak for the record. The appointment was made under pressure from the White House, said a person familiar with the matter," The Washington Post reported Monday.
"Ellis, who was chief counsel to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), a staunch supporter of President Trump and then chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has been at the White House since early 2017, when he became a lawyer on the National Security Council and then this year was elevated to the position of senior director for intelligence," the newspaper reported.
Ellis has a notorious record.
"In March 2017, he gained publicity for his involvement in a questionable episode involving Nunes, who was given access at the White House to intelligence files that Nunes believed would buttress his baseless claims of Obama administration spying on Trump Tower," the newspaper reported. "Press reports stated that Ellis was among the White House officials who helped Nunes see the documents — reportedly late at night, earning the episode the nickname “the midnight run.”
And he also played a role in trying to hide the records of Trump's controversial phone call that resulted in his impeachment.
"Ellis also has figured in the controversy over Trump’s effort last year to pressure the Ukraine president to undertake what a whistleblower said was a politically-motivated investigation of Joe Biden and his son Hunter. According to testimony from another NSC official, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, whom Trump fired earlier this year, it was Ellis who first proposed moving a memorandum of Trump’s call with the Ukraine president to a highly classified server," the newspaper reminded.