Peter Navarro, Donald Trump's former trade adviser, reportedly tried to oust his colleague Victoria Coates by falsely claiming she was the anonymous author of a New York Times op-ed detailing an internal resistance within the White House trying to thwart the former president.
Mr Navarro laid out his accusation in a 15 page memo, which was obtained by Politico.
The memo was sent in December 2019, when Ms Coates was working as the deputy national security advisor.
Though Ms Coates is never directly named by the memo, enough identifying information is reportedly included in its pages to definitively conclude that Mr Navarro was referring to her.
Weeks after Mr Navarro penned the letter, Ms Coates was transferred out of the White House and to the Department of Energy.
A Trump administration official speaking anonymously with Politico said that "there is no question in my mind that it got Victoria fired."
It is not immediately clear why Mr Navarro would have targeted Ms Coates, but a source originally speaking to Politico claimed the trade adviser wrote her off as a "globalist" shortly after they met.
Mr Navarro's memo contained a list of 15 bullet points detailing the identity of the anonymous author. Several of the points included were incorrect. The memo suggested the author was a "female with several children," an "experienced writer" and a "pro-Israel, Iran hawk" who was also a "Middle East expert."
In reality, the anonymous author was Miles Taylor, the chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security. Mr Taylor became an outspoken critic of Mr Trump in the months leading up to his revelation that he was the author.
Mr Navarro's memo was not signed, but three sources speaking with Politico claimed he had prepared the document.
Apparently, Mr Navarro gave the papers - titled "Identity of Anonymous" - to then-White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, who reportedly brushed the accusations off.
"I don't have time for this," Mr Mulvaney reportedly told Mr Navarro.
Ms Coates said Mr Trump's inner circle failed him by believing the memo.
“It’s shocking to realise senior administration officials were so easily duped by this garbage,” Ms Coates said in a statement. “President Trump was not well served.”
The Independent has reached out to Mr Navarro for comment.