The Republican nominee hired David Bossie, the president of the conservative political advocacy group Citizens United, as deputy campaign manager to help steer his campaign in the final months of the election, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway confirmed to CNN Thursday.
The campaign's hire of Bossie adds several decades of national political experience to Trump's presidential bid, which has faced several weeks of gloomy poll numbers.
Trump announced the hire Thursday in an interview
with The Washington Post -- an outlet Trump has banned from attending his campaign events as credentialed press -- telling the newspaper that Bossie has been "a friend of mine for many years."
"Solid. Smart. Loves politics, knows how to win," Trump said in the interview.
Bossie has already begun delving into his work with the campaign, attending a series of campaign meetings Thursday at Trump Tower, a source told CNN.
The campaign of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton quickly blasted Bossie's hiring, harkening back to his service on a House investigative committee 20 years ago.
"David Bossie is so craven and maniacal that in the heyday of the overreaching, Gingrich-era Congress, the top Whitewater conspiracy theorist in the House had to fire him for doctoring evidence," Clinton campaign Chair John Podesta said in a statement.
Bossie, Podesta added, "has devoted his career ever since to trying to tear down Hillary Clinton. For months now, Citizens United has been acting as an arm of the Trump campaign, and this hiring of Bossie now makes it official. This is just the latest sign that Donald Trump has put the most extreme elements of the right-wing fringe in the driver's seat of his campaign."
Bossie's hire came as three sources told CNN that Rick Gates, the right-hand man to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, is expected to leave the campaign.
Gates declined to comment on the news, which was first reported
by Politico, and Conway said in a text message "Gates still (Republican National Committee) liaison." In a follow-up interview, she added that Gates will work out of both the RNC and Trump campaign headquarters.
Gates' departure would come nearly two weeks after Trump's senior communications adviser Jason Miller announced on Twitter that Gates had been named the campaign's liaison to the RNC, just hours after Manafort resigned from the campaign.
His potential exit did not come as as a shock to campaign insiders who have said Gates would likely leave with Manafort gone, but it's unclear why Gates was named the campaign's liaison to the RNC under those circumstances. It also was not immediately clear why Gates would leave the campaign.
Last month, Trump's campaign added
Conway and former Breitbart News executive Steve Bannon as campaign CEO.