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FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump, flanked by Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategy Dina Powell (L) poses fo...

Deputy national security adviser Dina Powell to leave White House

WASHINGTON (AP) — Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell will be leaving the Trump administration early next year, the White House announced Friday, in the first of what is expected to be a round of departures in the new year.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says in a statement that Powell had always planned to serve for a year before returning home to New York. She’s expected to continue working with the administration on Middle East policy issues from outside the White House, Sanders said.

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster in a statement called Powell an “invaluable member” of the president’s team and praised her as one of “the most talented and effective leaders with whom I have ever served.”

“Her sage advice helped provide options to the president and her strong relationships across the U.S. government and internationally helped drive execution of the president’s decisions,” he said.

Powell was originally hired to work on economic development at the behest of Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, and his son-in-law Jared Kushner. But the Egyptian-American with international experience and fluency in Arabic was soon moved to the National Security Council.

Powell’s foreign policy experience was forged under Condoleezza Rice, who brought her into the State Department when the George W. Bush’s administration was trying to improve diplomacy in the Middle East.

Born in Cairo, Powell moved to the United States with her family at the age of four and had to learn to speak English. Entering Republican politics at a young age, Powell put herself through the University of Texas by working in the state Legislature.

After stints with several GOP congressional members and at the Republican National Committee, she joined the Bush administration. There she became the youngest person to ever run a president’s personnel office. She later served Rice as assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs and as deputy undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs.

From the White House, Powell went to Goldman Sachs, where she worked for a decade, becoming a partner, looking after global investment and serving as president of the company foundation, overseeing an effort to invest in female entrepreneurs around the world.

Her close ties to Ivanka Trump, Kushner and economic adviser Gary Cohn, along with her Goldman credentials, led some to label her a “globalist,” though allies described her as a longtime conservative thinker.

Kushner applauded Powell’s work in a statement and said she would “continue to play a key role” in efforts to secure peace in the Middle East.

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