President Donald Trump announced Wednesday via Twitter that White House Counsel Don McGahn would be leaving his position in the fall.
“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!” the president tweeted.
As the Inquisitr reported, Trump’s announcement — while not a surprise, since McGahn’s departure was rumored — came weeks after U.S. media reported on McGahn cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller in the so-called Russia probe. According to reports, McGahn has cooperated extensively with Mueller, sitting down for numerous interviews totaling 30 hours.
President Trump denied and criticized the reports, calling them “fake news.”
Regardless, the president is eyeing McGahn’s potential replacement. According to the Washington Post, Pat Cipollone, a former Justice Department attorney, is one of McGahn’s potential replacements.
Citing two individuals briefed on the matter, WaPo reported that Cipollone is being “strongly considered” for the job. An attorney who practices commercial litigation at Stein Mitchell Cipollone Beato & Missner, Cipollone is a familiar face at Donald Trump’s White House; he has reportedly been advising President Trump’s legal team since at least last June.
According to the same source, Cipollone is also a close friend of Emmet Flood, a White House lawyer in charge of handling Mueller’s Russia probe. President Trump tweeted Thursday that he was “very excited about the person who will be taking the place of Donald McGahn as White House Counsel,” perhaps indicating that McGahn’s replacement had already been found.
Fun Fact… about @realdonaldtrump 's candidate for White House Counsel: Laura @IngrahamAngle praised Pat Cipollone as a great friend and adviser in her adult conversion to Catholicism https://t.co/WlW63hPmC0
— Carol Leonnig (@CarolLeonnig) August 31, 2018
In statements given separately to the Washington Post, prominent members of Trump’s legal team, Rudy Giuliani and Jay Sekulow, praised Cipollone.
“Pat Cipollone is a brilliant attorney,” Sekulow said.
“I know both Pat and Emmet very well, and either one would be an excellent choice,” Giuliani told WaPo.
While not a household name, WaPo noted, Cipollone enjoys respect in Washington circles, mostly due to his previous work on federal investigations. According to the same outlet, this is exactly the reason Cipollone may turn out to be McGahn’s replacement. Trump’s legal team is facing the threat of impeachment if Democrats gain control of the House, and handling Robert Mueller’s Russia probe is a top priority for the Trump administration.
As The Hill noted, McGahn had a strained relationship with President Trump, but he played an important role in White House’s appointing of conservative federal judges. McGahn’s potential replacement is also close friends with conservative commentator and Fox News host Laura Ingraham, who reportedly credits the lawyer for her adult conversion to Catholicism.