Trump’s DoD orders the NSA to immediately install Michael Ellis as top lawyer

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Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller orders the National Security Agency to install Michael Ellis, the former Devin Nunes attorney who played a role in Trump’s Ukraine scandal. The NSA installs Ellis the ext day.

Ellis’ first day on the job is January 19. On January 20, he is put on leave as the Department of Defense inspector general opens an investigation into his appointment.

Ellis was named as counsel for the NSA in November but had not been placed in his new role with only four days before Trump leaves office. At the same time, Kashyap Patel was promoted to the role of Miller’s chief of staff. Both Ellis and Patel worked with Devin Nunes before joining the Trump administration and were involved in the Ukraine scandal.

Ellis is a GOP operative who served as counsel to Rep. Devin Nunes before being promoted as deputy counsel to the National Security Council. In early 2020, he was promoted to Senior Director of Intelligence at the NSC.

Ellis is best known for two scandals in the Trump years.

First, in March 2017, he provided Nunes access to intelligence files hoping they could be useful in pinning a crime on Barack Obama. (They weren’t.)

Later, in 2019, it was Ellis who suggested that a memo of Trump’s impeachment-level phone call with the president of Ukraine should be moved to the highest classified server available in the White House.


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