Political News

NSC official who was abruptly placed on administrative leave is temporarily replaced

Posted January 21, 2020 10:53 p.m. EST

— Andrew Peek, the senior director for European and Russian affairs at the National Security Council, was placed on administrative leave in recent days and is being replaced, at least temporarily, after only a few months on the job due to an ongoing investigation that's been described as "security related," according to two people familiar with the situation.

CNN has learned he is currently being replaced by a Defense Department official, Tom Williams, who will now serve as the acting senior director at NSC, the two people said. The move has not yet been announced.

Peek was scheduled to accompany President Donald Trump on his trip this week to Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum but was abruptly yanked off the trip last week, surprising his colleagues.

The NSC has refused to elaborate publicly, though it's generally seen inside the administration as a past issue that was flagged in his background check, multiple people said. However, it's not clear if Peek's departure is permanent.

Peek's position -- and the previous two people who occupied it -- have been at the center of the ongoing impeachment investigation of Trump's Ukraine conduct.

Peek had replaced Tim Morrison, who left the position last year before testifying in the House impeachment inquiry that he was told Trump wanted a top Ukrainian official to announce an investigation that would help the President politically before US security aid to Ukraine would be released.

Morrison had replaced Fiona Hill after she left the post last summer. Hill told lawmakers during her House impeachment inquiry testimony that US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland was involved in a "domestic political errand" in Ukraine, while she and others were trying to stay involved in "national security foreign policy."

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