President Donald Trump’s longtime personal aide, John McEntee, was fired and escorted from the White House on Tuesday after it was revealed that he was under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security for serious financial crimes — but he was then immediately hired by the Trump re-election campaign.
McEntee had been one of Trump’s longest serving staffers. A former quarterback for the University of Connecticut, McEntee was a “constant presence at Mr. Trump’s side for the last three years,” according to the Wall Street Journal, which first broke the news. His firing was so quick that he wasn’t even allowed to collect his belongings, and left without his jacket.
The specific nature of the “serious financial crimes” investigation is still unclear. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), however, is responsible for enforcing laws on Intellectual Property Rights as well as Fraud and Counterfeiting. The agency is also responsible for Foreign Corruption Investigations, and “developing the government-wide anti-kleptocracy strategy due to the agency’s expertise in investigating international money laundering.”
According to CNN, McEntee was pushed out because of issues with his security clearance. Despite being more than a year into office, dozens of white house aides are still operating on interim security clearances or, in the case of Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, have been stripped of their security clearances after failing to properly complete their background checks.
In February, it emerged that former White House aide Rob Porter was allowed to remain in a sensitive post despite the F.B.I. learning of serious allegations of domestic abuse from two of Porter’s former wives. After the allegations became major news stories, Porter was forced out.
Even though there are clear security issues with McEntee, that didn’t stop him immediately joining the Trump re-election campaign, along with former Trump campaign spokesperson Katrina Pierson.
“As we build out our operations for the 2018 midterm elections and the 2020 reelection campaign, we are please to welcome back two outstanding members of our 2016 team,” campaign manager Brad Parscale said in a statement. “We need the help of porven leaders such as Katrina and John to promote the President’s growing portfolio of achievements across the country.”
McEntee is just the latest White House figure to depart the Trump administration amid a cloud of possible financial crimes. In February, special counsel Robert Mueller filled fraud charges against former Trump campaign associates Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, accusing Manafort of being part of a decade-long money laundering scheme. Kushner’s real estate business, meanwhile, has fallen under the spotlight of regulators who are examining loans paid by private equity firms to the Kushner family firm.