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WH lawyer in charge of policing Trump officials' ethics to leave: report

WH lawyer in charge of policing Trump officials' ethics to leave: report
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White House attorney Stefan Passantino is reportedly planning to leave the Trump administration in the coming weeks.

Passantino, the deputy White House counsel responsible for policing ethics for Trump officials, joined the administration in January 2017 after formerly serving as an attorney to former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.).

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Four people familiar with the situation told Politico of Passantino’s plans to leave, which he has reportedly been forming for months. Passantino’s family lives in Georgia, and he has been commuting throughout his tenure in the Trump administration. 

The Hill has reached out to Passantino and the White House for comment.

Passantino has weathered a number of ethics scandals from Trump administration officials, including concerns about the use of private flights, improper spending of taxpayer dollars, accusations of Hatch Act violations and more.

Trump himself, as well as White House advisers Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpObama to campaign for Biden in Orlando on Tuesday Lincoln Project attorney on billboards lawsuit threat: 'Please peddle your scare tactics elsewhere' Biden pushes back on Trump: 'Crass' to go after political rival's children MORE and her husband, Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerKushner: Black Americans have to 'want to be successful' Lincoln Project attorney on billboards lawsuit threat: 'Please peddle your scare tactics elsewhere' Biden pushes back on Trump: 'Crass' to go after political rival's children MORE, have been accused by critics of profiting from real estate holdings and Trump hotels throughout his presidency. Earlier Tuesday, a federal judge allowed a lawsuit accusing Trump of violating the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause to move forward.

Though Passantino’s office does not directly oversee Cabinet secretaries, the Trump White House has been viewed by ethics experts outside the administration as a particularly challenging client.

Norm Eisen, former President Obama’s ethics chief and a prominent Trump critic, told Politico he was “amazed [Passantino] made it as long as he did.”

“His client was the White House, but its head, the president, is as difficult an ethics subject as has ever occupied the Oval,” Eisen said. “No ethicist could thrive in that environment.”

Ex-White House ethics chief Walter ShaubWalter Michael ShaubLouisiana House candidate fundraises off opponent's tweet about wife's 'premonition' dream Trump breaks with precedent on second night of convention Democratic senators call for ethics review into Ivanka Trump's Goya tweet MORE, who briefly served under Trump before resigning, said that Passantino was “openly hostile” to the government ethics program. The two clashed during Shaub’s brief tenure in the Trump White House.

“I’m glad to hear he’s leaving,” Shaub said. “He is a nice guy — charming even, and easy to like on a personal level. I’d want him as a neighbor, but not as an ethics official.”

“On a professional level, he has been openly hostile to the government ethics program, like nothing we’d ever seen,” Shaub added. “He’s done more harm than good in his brief stint in the White House. His detrimental influence on the government ethics program under the Trump administration was a factor in my decision to resign.”