Trump’s ‘eyes and ears’ jumps to Energy Department

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E News reporter • Posted: Tuesday, April 17, 2018

President Trump’s former policy director, John Mashburn, has left his post as a deputy Cabinet secretary at the White House and is now a senior adviser to Energy Secretary Rick Perry.

A well-known Trump aide, Mashburn has served in his current position for more than a year, coordinating policy between the president and dozens of federal agencies.

The prominent social conservative and former congressional aide to the late North Carolina Sen. Jesse Helms was described by ProPublica as Trump’s “eyes and ears” at agencies across the federal footprint.

Mashburn’s title was posted in the DOE registry and the move confirmed by the White House.

Mashburn’s exit from the White House follows the announced departure of Rick Dearborn, Trump’s former deputy chief of staff, who has also been chief of staff to Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.).

Both Mashburn and Dearborn are at the center of a line of questioning from bipartisan lawmakers conducting a probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and ranking member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) sent a letter to the presidential campaign last month, expanding their search for emails to include Mashburn and Dearborn.

According to Mashburn’s LinkedIn profile, he began working for the Trump campaign as a policy director starting in April 2016 before moving up as a senior policy adviser for the presidential transition team in November.

Trump’s hiring of Mashburn, a lawyer, was seen as a smart move among social conservatives who celebrated his strong anti-abortion stance.

“Donald Trump has brought on John Mashburn as his Policy Director,” wrote Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, a national pro-life organization focused on ending abortion, on May 3, 2016. “This is an excellent hire, especially for the pro-life movement and our legislative priorities.”