January 31, 2019 / 4:27 PM / in 6 months

White House names a deputy press secretary to handle Congress inquiries

FILE PHOTO: Snow covers the North Lawn as sun shines on the White House in Washington, U.S., January 14, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - With Democrats promising to open investigations into President Donald Trump’s administration, the White House has picked a legal expert as deputy press secretary to handle inquiries related to congressional oversight, a White House official said on Thursday.

Democrats who took control of the U.S. House of Representatives in November elections have said they plan to launch probes into a variety of areas related to the Republican president and his administration. They want to obtain access to his tax returns and look into his immigration policies, for example.

In addition, U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller was described by acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker last week as close to finishing his investigation into whether Trump’s 2016 campaign colluded with Russia to help him win the election.

Steven Groves, the White House assistant special counsel and a former aide to former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, will become deputy press secretary to handle questions related to congressional oversight and the Justice Department, the White House official said.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed a report by CBS News on the development.

In other moves, Hogan Gidley was officially promoted as the principal deputy to press secretary Sarah Sanders. The position had been filled by Raj Shah, who left the White House late last year.

The White House’s director of regional communications, Judd Deere, will join Lindsay Walters as a deputy press secretary. Deere will handle topics including energy and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), while Walters will continue handling trade and economic issues.

Reporting by Steve Holland; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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