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Another top Trump aide exits White House over security issue

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Washington: US President Donald Trump's personal assistant was escorted from the White House amid an investigation into ''serious financial crimes'', CNN reported.

John McEntee, who has served as Trump's personal assistant since Trump won the presidency, had his security clearance revoked because he is under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security for serious financial crimes, a source familiar with his firing told CNN.

The charges are not related to the President, the source said.

The decision to remove 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.

But McEntee will remain in the President's orbit despite his abrupt departure. Trump's re-election campaign organisation announced on Tuesday that McEntee has been named senior adviser for campaign operations, putting him in a position to remain as a close aide during the next several years.

The campaign's decision underscores Trump's tolerance for — and often encouragement of — duelling centres of power around him. And it highlights the extent to which the re-election campaign has already become a landing pad for former Trump associates who have left the White House but remain loyal to the President.

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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. A White House spokesman declined to comment on McEntee's firing.

But a senior administration official said many of the President's top aides were shocked by the abrupt departure, which the official described as a sudden decision. The official, who requested anonymity to discuss personnel issues, said McEntee had been expected to travel with Trump — as he always does — when he departed for a trip to California on Tuesday.

For Trump, the absence of McEntee strips away another of the handful of close associates who have constantly been by his side as he made the transition from real estate mogul to politician. Keith Schiller, Trump's longtime director of security, left the White House in September. Hope Hicks, the director of communications, has announced she is leaving in the coming days.

New York Times

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