Even as the end of his first term in the White House drew near, former President Donald Trump continued to implement changes to the federal government in alignment with his agenda.
As one notable example, he instructed Defense Secretary Christopher C. Miller to name a new general counsel — a Trump loyalist – to the highly secretive National Security Agency, a move firmly denounced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
A “highly suspect” appointment
According to Fox News, the last-minute appointment represented a potential threat within the intelligence community, as she explained in a letter to Miller.
Pelosi demanded that he “immediately cease” plans to authorize the appointment.
Of course, her instructions apparently fell on deaf ears, as reported by Politico. Michael Ellis subsequently took on his new position as general counsel for the NSA on Tuesday, the day before President Joe Biden was inaugurated.
The House speaker seemed to be upset over Ellis’ appointment because it gives a Trump ally one of the most important positions within the agency as the former president embarks on his post-White House life.
Describing the move as “highly suspect,” Pelosi went on to call for an investigation into the supposed “irregularities” involved in the general counsel selection process.
Biden could reassign Ellis
In questioning the Trump pick’s credentials, she wrote that Ellis is “a relatively recent law school graduate with a limited resume” who “was selected due to interference by the White House, and was chosen over much more qualified candidates.”
Pelosi argued in her letter to Miller that installing a Trump loyalist just hours before the end of his term posed an unacceptable and avoidable national security threat.
“Further, the efforts to install him or ‘burrow’ him into a highly sensitive intelligence position 72 hours prior to the beginning of a new Administration manifest a disturbing disregard for our national security,” she wrote. “Therefore, this placement should not move forward.”
Prior to his position on the NSA, Ellis made a name for himself while working for U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) as chief of counsel while the pro-Trump lawmakers served as chairman of the House intelligence committee.
Despite his appointment by Trump, the new Biden administration retains the power to reassign him to a different role. Ahead of Inauguration Day, the Biden transition team declined to comment when questioned on whether or not the president-elect’s team had been considering such a move.