White House deputy chief of staff for operations Joe Hagin is stepping down from that role and exiting the government for the private sector, the White House said Tuesday.
Hagin played a central role in organizing President Donald Trump’s recent summit with North Korean ruler Kim Jong-un in Singapore, and prior to serving in the Trump administration was a part of the Regan administration and both Bush administrations.
BuzzFeed News noted, however, that the resignation came a day after the outlet reported on an unusual client Hagin’s consulting firm took on during the Obama administration, when Hagin had entered the private sector as a cofounder of Command Consulting Group.
The client, a power-hungry Libyan exile named Basit Igtet, was “deeply involved” in a “sex cult” known as NXIVM, BuzzFeed News reported. NXIVM’s leadership was charged with sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy and forced labor conspiracy in April. Igtet’s wife, Sara Bronfman, provided the group tens of millions of dollars, according to the report. “I have nothing to do with the group,” Hagin told BuzzFeed News.
Igtet also reportedly met in 2013, while working with CCG, with the suspected ringleader of the 2012 Benghazi attack. An unnamed White House official told BuzzFeed that Hagin “was not aware of any meetings Igtet had had with Abu Khattala,” the publication said. Ahmed Abu Khattala was found guilty last year of four out of 18 counts related to the attack.
CNN reported prior to the Singapore summit that Hagin had in the past “kept sensitive logistical details from Trump” out of fear that the President would tweet about them, according to two unnamed officials.
“Joe Hagin has been a huge asset to my administration,” Trump said in a statement. “He planned and executed the longest and one of the most historic foreign trips ever made by a President, and he did it all perfectly. We will miss him in the office and even more on the road. I am thankful for his remarkable service to our great country.”