Trump chooses Pat Cipollone to replace McGahn as White House counsel: reports

Trump chooses Pat Cipollone to replace McGahn as White House counsel: reports
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpAustralia recognizes West Jerusalem as Israeli capital, won't move embassy Mulvaney will stay on as White House budget chief Trump touts ruling against ObamaCare: ‘Mitch and Nancy’ should pass new health-care law MORE has reportedly selected Washington attorney Pat Cipollone to replace Don McGahn as White House counsel, according to reports.

The move, first reported by Axios and The Washington Post on Saturday, follows after reports earlier this year that Republicans are worried Trump's replacement for McGahn could be less focused on selecting conservative nominees for the federal judiciary and more engaged with taking on special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE.

Cipollone, a former Justice Department lawyer who practices at Stein Mitchell Cipollone Beato & Missner, has advised Trump's attorneys on Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s election interference.

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Sources told the Post that Cipollone has already begun filling out the necessary paperwork to take over McGahn's position, which he was expected to vacate this fall. The decision was made last week, according to the Post, though no public announcement has been made. Cipollone must still pass a security clearance review, the paper noted.

The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Hill on Saturday about the news. The Post reports that Cipollone will assume McGahn's position within the week.

Cipollone was reported last month to have been on a shortlist for the position along with Emmet Flood, a current member of Trump’s legal team who previously advised former President Clinton during his 1998–1999 impeachment proceedings.

A former GOP Senate aide told The Hill last month that Trump is “looking for somebody with a different skill set" in McGahn's replacement.

“Trump’s efforts have clearly been directed at reassuring about his candidacy and his presidency, and McGahn was a key part of that. It will be interesting to see moving forward how that relationship works with his departure from the White House,” said James Wallner, who formerly served as the Heritage Foundation’s vice president for research.

Wallner noted that if a replacement for McGahn were less focused on the judiciary, his or her selection could suggest that the White House is preparing for the possibility of a Democratic Congress. 

If Democrats take back the House, Wallner said, “you’re going to be facing more investigations.”

“The White House counsel presumably would be concerned with questions of executive privilege,” he added. “An attorney who is very well-versed in the judicial selection process may not necessarily be one who’s well-versed in these other areas of responsibility.”