Multiple officials in the State Department and the White House are cooperating in a security-related investigation into Andrew Peek, the former senior director for Russia and Europe at the National Security Council, The Daily Beast has learned.
Peek was escorted off the grounds of the White House on Jan. 17 and placed on administrative leave pending investigation, the details of which have been closely held. Axios previously reported that Peek was expected to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos prior to his exit. He had barely been on the Russia job for two months.
Since then, rumors have swirled within the ranks of the White House, State Department, and on social media about the reason for Peek’s sudden exit. The Trump administration has said nothing to explain Peek’s departure.
But two officials familiar with the probe tell The Daily Beast that the investigation has been ongoing for several months and that Peek’s State Department colleagues raised concerns about him before he left to join the White House’s staff. However, one official who spoke to The Daily Beast also said Peek had close, collegial working relationships with several individuals at the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs during his time at State. Peek has also retained counsel, those officials said.
Peek did not comment on the record for this story. The White House and State Department also did not respond to a request for comment.
Peek, a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, got his start in the Trump administration working in the State Department as deputy assistant secretary of state for Iraq and Iran. Before that, Peek worked as a U.S. Army intelligence officer in Afghanistan after Gen. David Petraeus selected him for his commander’s initiatives group. He also previously advised Sens. Gordon Smith (R-OR) and Mike Johanns (R-NE).
Peek’s mother is a contributor to Fox News and his father works in the Manhattan banking industry. Several days after his departure, President Donald Trump tweeted and quoted Elizabeth Peek: “‘This is all about undermining the next Election.’ Liz Peek, @FoxNews.”
As part of his job in the Trump administration, Andrew Peek traveled often to the Middle East and worked on Iran policy in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the State Department. National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, who previously served as State’s special envoy for hostage affairs, tapped Peek for the senior role on the National Security Council this past summer, several officials told The Daily Beast.
The last two officials in Peek’s role at the NSC, Tim Morrison and Fiona Hill, testified in the House impeachment investigation into Trump. Matt Dimmick, formerly the director for Russia at the Pentagon, has taken Peek’s place at the National Security Council.
Multiple other White House officials have been pushed out of their positions in the Trump era. Rob Porter, who served as a senior aide to the president, was forced out after multiple allegations that he emotionally and physically abused women. Darren Beattie, a speechwriter and policy aide to Trump, was ousted in 2018 after it became known that he attended a conference frequented by white nationalists. He was later hired by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL). Reince Priebus, Trump’s former chief of staff, got the boot in July 2017 due to unsatisfactory job performance reviews from top Trumpworld figures including the president himself. He was replaced by Gen. John Kelly who was then replaced by Mick Mulvaney.