Michael Ellis, a Trump loyalist who was named senior director for intelligence on the National Security Council earlier this year, has been tapped by the Pentagon general counsel to be the top lawyer at the National Security Agency, according to the Washington Post on Monday.
Officials told the Post that Ellis’ appointment as the top lawyer at the NSA, which has not been announced, was made Monday. According to the Post, a person familiar with the matter said the appointment was made under pressure from the White House.
Ellis was installed as the senior director for intelligence at the NSC earlier this year after he was a lawyer for the agency. Prior to his duties at the NSC, Ellis served as chief counsel to Trump ally Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), then-chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
Ellis has been at the White House since early 2017. In March 2017, Ellis came under scrutiny for his involvement in efforts by Nunes to bolster unfounded claims that the Obama administration had spied on Trump Tower through the White House giving him access to intelligence files.
As a White House official, Ellis reportedly assisted Nunes in accessing the documents late at night.
Additionally, Ellis was wrapped up in the Ukraine scandal that was an attempt to dig up dirt on Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
Last year, then-NSC official, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman — who was fired by Trump earlier this year — testified to the House Intelligence Committee that Ellis first proposed moving the record of Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky into the NSC’s top-secret codeword system —a highly classified server that only a small group of officials can access.