Sarah Isgur Flores, who worked as the primary spokeswoman at the Justice Department under former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, is expected to join CNN as a political editor next month.
Her jump from the Trump administration to CNN is notable, given the president’s antagonism toward the network. Trump has repeatedly referred to CNN as “fake news” and frequently spars with Jim Acosta, the network’s chief political correspondent.
CNN said after reports that Flores would lead campaign coverage that she actually will be one of several editors helping coordinate online and TV reporting of the 2020 election cycle. A CNN spokesperson told HuffPost that Flores will not cover the Justice Department, but did not immediately reply to a question about whether her other prior work could present a conflict of interest with the network’s political coverage.
Flores has no background in journalism, but has worked for years as a Republican political operative. Some of her recent roles before working for the Trump administration include acting as deputy campaign manager for Carly Fiorina’s presidential campaign, deputy communications director at the Republican National Committee, Election Day operations manager for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign and political director of Texans for Ted Cruz.
Flores’ position at the DOJ was reportedly tenuous, given her previous criticism of Trump on the 2016 campaign trail. She also found herself defending Sessions against reports that Trump was furious with him for recusing himself from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation in March 2017. She moved over to the office of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, another frequent target of the president, after Sessions resigned in November.
According to Politico, Flores’ relationship with CNN has given rise to “a whisper campaign among Trump supporters in and out of the government who are arguing — with no evidence — that she was the source of damaging leaks against the administration.”
The White House and the DOJ did not immediately respond to requests for comment on this article.
This article and headline have been updated to include CNN’s distinction that Flores will help coordinate campaign coverage, but will not lead it.