Don McGahn, the man who currently serves as the White House counsel and advises President Trump and the administration on all legal issues, announced over the summer that he would be leaving the post.
McGahn said he would step down from the post over the Fall, allowing Trump some time to find a replacement.
And, on Tuesday evening, President Trump revealed that he had selected his replacement: Pat Cipollone.
The Washington lawyer will be responsible for handling congressional subpoenas and investigative inquiries, the Associated Press reports. This role will be especially important if the Democrat Party is able to win back one or both legislative chambers in the November congressional election. They will undoubtedly use the position of power to contest the president on everything—from infidelity to alleged collusion.
The Washington Examiner reported McGahn was willing to stay on board with the administration until after Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed, but disputed with the president over a legal consideration:
McGahn announced over the summer that he would be departing the White House after now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed.
Trump and McGahn recently have butted heads over Trump wanting to grant his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, a pardon. Manafort was convicted of eight counts of bank and tax fraud unrelated to the Trump campaign.
White House Counsel Don McGahn will be leaving his position in the fall, shortly after the confirmation (hopefully) of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court. I have worked with Don for a long time and truly appreciate his service!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 29, 2018
The Washington Post describes Cipollone as a “Catholic activist” and said he is well-respected by Trump’s lawyers.
Cipollone, who practices commercial litigation at Stein Mitchell Cipollone Beato & Missner, is well liked and respected among Trump’s personal lawyers and had been informally advising them since at least June on the special-counsel probe into Russian interference in the 2016 elections.
Asked about the White House counsel job on his way to a rally in Kentucky late Saturday, Trump said, “I haven’t named the new White House counsel, but over a short period of time.” On Cipollone, he said, “Pat’s a great guy. I don’t want to say, but he’s a great guy. He’s a very talented and he’s a very good man, but I don’t want to say.”
Note: The author of this article has included commentary that expresses an opinion and analysis of the facts.
Cipollone is expected to take over the premier legal office in the next week, pending a security clearance review. He would head up this office at a momentous and challenging time. The White House counsel’s team has been eviscerated by departures, having dwindled down to 25 lawyers from 35 earlier in the year. The office normally has a staff of 50 lawyers. It has also lost four of its five key deputies in recent months.
The Washington Post was the first to report in late August that Trump was considering Cipollone as his next White House counsel.