President Donald Trump’s longtime personal aide John McEntee has been fired and is currently under investigation by Homeland Security for financial crimes, according to reports.
Mr McEntee was escorted from the White House on Wednesday (AEDT) after news broke the assistant had been denied security clearance.
The Wall Street Journal, citing people close to Mr McEntee, said the problems related to online gambling and the mishandling of his taxes prevented him from gaining clearance.
The US secret service is now investigating the incident, sources familiar with his firing said. It is not clear why the clearance issue warranted the abrupt removal of Mr McEntee from the White House grounds.
Minutes after news of his departure broke, the Trump campaign announced Mr McEntee would be joining the re-election effort as a senior adviser for campaign operations.
Neither the White House nor the Trump campaign have commented on the matter.
“We do not comment on personnel issues,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told CNN.
President Trump’s re-election campaign manager Brad Parscale announced Mr McEntee’s hiring on Tuesday.
“As we build out our operations for the 2018 midterm elections and the 2020 reelection campaign, we are pleased to welcome back two outstanding members of our 2016 team,” Mr Parscale said in a statement.
“We need the help of proven leaders such as John to promote the President’s growing portfolio of achievements across the country.”
Mr McEntee, who joined the Trump campaign in its first months, is the latest aide to be forced out because of difficulties obtaining a full security clearance.
White House chief of staff John Kelly has said in recent weeks that too many staff members were operating on interim security clearances because they could not pass FBI background checks.
The decision to remove Mr McEntee came to light on the same day Trump announced he was sacking Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State and replacing him with Mike Pompeo, his CIA Director.