Political News

Top White House official to leave West Wing to become drug czar

Posted February 9, 2018 9:56 a.m. EST

— White House deputy chief of staff Jim Carroll, who has served in that role for nearly three months, is expected to leave the White House to helm the Office of National Drug Control Policy, two sources with knowledge of the decision told CNN Friday.

Carroll, a White House lawyer who quietly became one of chief of staff John Kelly's deputies late last year, is expected to be tapped to become the administration's drug czar as early as Friday, two sources with knowledge of the decision told CNN. The White House's first nominee to lead the office, Rep. Tom Marino, withdrew from consideration in October after a report detailed how legislation he sponsored helped make it easier for drug companies to distribute opioids across America.

It was not immediately clear when Carroll would leave his current role, but news of Carroll's expected departure comes on the heels of the resignation of White House staff secretary Rob Porter, who cleared out his desk on Thursday after allegations of domestic abuse against him became public.

A White House spokesman declined to comment on Friday.

The White House has faced pointed questions about why Porter remained in his role for months after senior White House officials knew of the allegations made by his two ex-wives. Porter has denied the allegations.

Carroll's departure, in quick succession with Porter's, will leave a large hole to be filled in the senior ranks of the West Wing. Both Porter and Carroll were key to the orderly flow of paperwork and information to the President that has streamlined decision-making at the White House, which Kelly has worked to improve since he took over as chief of staff last summer.

The two sources with knowledge of the decision insisted that Carroll's departure was in the works before Porter's resignation earlier this week. One source said Carroll's departure was sparked by Kelly's dissatisfaction with his work.

Kelly handpicked Carroll from the White House counsel's office to join his office after his principal deputy chief of staff, Kirstjen Nielsen, was tapped to lead the Department of Homeland Security.

After Nielsen was confirmed and with another deputy chief of staff, Rick Dearborn, expected to soon leave the White House, Carroll quickly took on the duties of a deputy chief -- though he was never formally named to the position.

Carroll was widely expected to be officially named to the position of deputy chief of staff and perhaps even take over Nielsen's role as principal deputy chief of staff.