President Donald Trump named Pat Cipollone, a prominent D.C. attorney and graduate of the Law School, as White House counsel on October 16. Cipollone will replace Donald McGahn as the President’s principal legal adviser.
Trump announced Cipollone’s replacement of McGahn in an interview with the Associated Press. Prior to confirming Cipollone’s appointment, Trump praised him for being “very talented and…a good man,” CNN reported.
Cipollone’s appointment as White House counsel comes at a critical time, as Special Counsel Robert Mueller continues to look into the effect of Russian interference on the outcome of the 2016 election cycle. During McGahn’s tenure as White House counsel, he cooperated extensively with the Mueller investigation. The New York Times reported that McGahn was generally compliant with Mueller’s investigators, providing three voluntary interviews, totaling more than 30 hours, over nine months. It is unclear whether Cipollone will be as inclined to cooperate, potentially marking a critical shift in the trajectory of the Mueller investigation.
Cipollone brings significant experience to the role. During his time at the University of Chicago, he was managing editor of The University of Chicago Law Review. He later served as a judicial clerk for Danny Bogs of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and assistant to U.S. Attorney General William Barr. He is currently a partner at the law firm Stein Mitchell Cipollone Beato & Missner, where he has ligitated a number of investigations involving the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Federal Trade Commission, among numerous others, according to a biography on his firm’s site.
The appointment of Cipollone as White House counsel is a strategic move on behalf of Trump that may influence the outcome of the Mueller investigation. However, with the 2018 midterms looming large, the potential of shifting demographics in Congress may have a greater effect on the investigation than Cipollone’s appointment.
Cipollone did not respond to The Maroon’s request for comment.