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Meet Trump's new White House counsel

Washington lawyer Pat Cipollone will be President Donald Trump's next White House counsel, according to a source briefed on the matter. CNN's Jessica Dean reports on what this will mean for the Trump administration as midterms approach.

Posted: Oct 19, 2018 1:22 PM
Updated: Oct 19, 2018 1:41 PM

President Donald Trump's pick to fill the job of White House counsel is an indication the White House is preparing for possible post-election legal brawls with Democrats over everything from the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation to possible impeachment if Democrats take over the House of Representatives.

Pat Cipollone is taking over an office formerly led by Don McGahn, whose last day at the White House was Wednesday. While McGahn was planning on leaving the White House, his departure was expedited by Trump's Tuesday announcement of Cipollone's appointment, sources say.

Should Democrats take over the House, the President's lawyers expect a flood of new oversight investigations of executive branch agencies, which the GOP-controlled Congress has largely avoided. Democrats are also expected to try to get access to materials from the Mueller investigation, which the President's lawyers argue should be protected by executive privilege. The President and his lawyers have also raised the likelihood of an impeachment battle, even though Democratic leaders have tried to avoid discussing the issue.

Cipollone's arrival marks an important change for the President because it means he will have a White House counsel who isn't sidelined by conflicts as a result of being a witness in the Mueller investigation.

McGahn and others in his office have provided interviews to Mueller as part of the investigation into whether the President tried to obstruct the inquiry. As a result, the President had to bring on Emmet Flood as his own special counsel to handle Mueller interactions on behalf of the President's office. The relationship between Trump and McGahn was further damaged when McGahn's clashes with the President became public knowledge in news reports.

Cipollone is leaving his partnership at the Washington law firm Stein Mitchell Cipollone Beato & Missner to take the White House job. But behind the scenes in recent months, he was already working as an outside adviser to the President's legal team, becoming something of a Trump whisperer, sources close to the President's legal team say.

"He's developed a relationship with the President," one person close to the Trump legal team told CNN. "He knows how to talk to (Trump) and ... that's important."

Cipollone is a seasoned litigator and former Justice Department official who served during President George H.W. Bush's administration, but he lacks extensive experience dealing with congressional investigations. The President and his legal team think that's not going to be a problem in part because Flood plans to remain in his post to help manage those interactions, according to people briefed on the matter.

The President's legal team thinks Cipollone will make a good team with Flood "should things take a nasty turn in November," a person close to Trump's legal team said. Cipollone's Washington skills work well, the source said, with other members of the team led in part by Jane and Marty Raskin, Florida-based lawyers who have been leading day-to-day negotiations with the Mueller team.

"He blends the legal and the political very well," the source close to the President's legal team said.

Jay Sekulow, a lawyer for the President, said that after working with Cipollone over the past several months he's "confident he will build a solid team in the White House Counsel's Office."

Former Obama White House counsel Neil Eggleston, who previously worked with Cipollone, said Cipollone is a "solid litigator used to high stakes litigation. He's got the right temperament for the job."

Eggleston said the key for Cipollone is to surround himself with top deputies who have the skills he doesn't, adding, "I don't worry he's going to do that."

Cipollone is expected to join the White House in the next two weeks, but he's already gotten a small taste of the unusually unscripted nature of the Trump presidency.

Trump made his announcement of Cipollone in an Associated Press interview on Tuesday, which came as a surprise even to Cipollone and others in the President's legal team and the White House. While he knew he had the job, the sudden announcement wasn't part of a planned rollout as usually happens with significant personnel announcements in the White House.

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to accurately describe Democrats' expected efforts to access Mueller investigation materials.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 604406

Reported Deaths: 7629
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1249281777
Ramsey52501896
Dakota46829470
Anoka42767458
Washington27423291
Stearns22555224
St. Louis18138313
Scott17550135
Wright16374149
Olmsted13397102
Sherburne1201695
Carver1067248
Clay826092
Rice8200110
Blue Earth762544
Crow Wing681794
Kandiyohi667985
Chisago619852
Otter Tail585884
Benton582998
Goodhue483874
Douglas475481
Mower470633
Winona461351
Itasca459463
Isanti439964
McLeod430561
Morrison424862
Beltrami407861
Nobles407650
Steele397916
Polk389072
Becker386755
Lyon363853
Carlton352856
Freeborn346933
Pine335023
Nicollet331245
Mille Lacs311954
Brown307840
Le Sueur297326
Cass286132
Todd285633
Meeker263342
Waseca238023
Martin235332
Roseau211221
Wabasha20783
Hubbard196641
Dodge18783
Renville182446
Redwood176539
Houston174616
Cottonwood167124
Wadena163323
Fillmore157410
Faribault154719
Chippewa154038
Pennington153820
Kanabec146828
Sibley146810
Aitkin138937
Watonwan13579
Rock128719
Jackson122612
Pipestone116726
Yellow Medicine114920
Pope11306
Murray107110
Swift106918
Koochiching95417
Stevens92411
Clearwater89016
Marshall88817
Lake83220
Wilkin83213
Lac qui Parle75622
Big Stone6044
Grant5948
Lincoln5853
Mahnomen5669
Norman5479
Kittson49022
Unassigned48393
Red Lake4017
Traverse3775
Lake of the Woods3453
Cook1720

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 371050

Reported Deaths: 6051
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk58259640
Linn21218339
Scott20307248
Black Hawk16139312
Woodbury15238230
Johnson1461985
Dubuque13509211
Dallas1128899
Pottawattamie11225174
Story1071448
Warren583891
Clinton561593
Cerro Gordo554093
Sioux517474
Webster515794
Muscatine4882106
Marshall486676
Des Moines467472
Wapello4338122
Buena Vista426940
Jasper421172
Plymouth403181
Lee382356
Marion366076
Jones300957
Henry294637
Bremer288461
Carroll286952
Boone268634
Crawford268440
Benton259855
Washington257251
Dickinson249344
Mahaska232651
Jackson225242
Clay216727
Kossuth216166
Tama211971
Delaware211143
Winneshiek198635
Page194522
Buchanan193833
Cedar192423
Hardin187444
Fayette186643
Wright186040
Hamilton181951
Harrison180073
Clayton171157
Butler166335
Madison164619
Mills163824
Floyd163442
Cherokee159338
Lyon158841
Poweshiek157036
Allamakee152952
Hancock150334
Iowa149824
Winnebago144531
Cass139255
Calhoun138913
Grundy137333
Emmet135841
Jefferson133435
Shelby131537
Sac130920
Union130035
Louisa129849
Appanoose129049
Mitchell126643
Chickasaw124817
Franklin123523
Guthrie123332
Humboldt119626
Palo Alto113623
Howard104922
Montgomery103638
Clarke100924
Keokuk96732
Monroe96431
Unassigned9560
Ida91535
Adair87332
Pocahontas85822
Davis85225
Monona82931
Osceola78916
Greene78011
Lucas77923
Worth7618
Taylor66812
Fremont6269
Decatur6169
Ringgold56424
Van Buren56418
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