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White House counsel considering resigning, source says


Cipollone was among those advising the President that he could be removed from office — via the 25th Amendment or impeachment — if he did not more forcefully denounce the actions of his supporters who attacked the US Capitol.

Before Wednesday’s election certification proceedings and the violence that ensued, Cipollone had advised Trump that he didn’t have a legal basis to justify his argument that Vice President Mike Pence had the power to block Congress’ certification of Joe Biden’s presidential win. He had also pushed backed on the legality of strategies Trump floated with other attorneys, such as Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, as a means to disputing the 2020 presidential election results.

“He’s there out of a sense of duty,” one source said.

A source close to Cipollone said: “Pat is a true public servant dedicated to the rule of law and his country.”

Cipollone’s exit would add to a growing list of Trump administration officials, which now includes Cabinet members, who have resigned from their government roles since the Capitol siege.

Cipollone defended the President during impeachment proceedings over phone calls with the leader of Ukraine, but his potential exit raises questions about who would represent Trump if current impeachment talks pick up more steam. Cipollone’s participation is now highly unlikely.

The White House lawyer came to know Trump after advising him and his legal team on the special counsel’s investigation. In late 2018, Cipollone officially joined the team at the behest of another Trump lawyer, Jay Sekulow, replacing Don McGahn as the President’s leading White House counsel.

Cipollone was known to have quickly developed a warm relationship with the President after joining the White House legal team. The lawyer’s early good standing, sources told CNN in early 2020, was bolstered by his decades-long relationship with then-Attorney General Bill Barr.

Notably, Barr resigned last month after he contradicted Trump’s claims about election fraud — illustrating the ongoing rift between Trump and some of his closest allies over the validity 2020 results.

Before joining the White House, Cipollone was a partner at the Washington law firm Stein Mitchell Cipollone Beato & Missner. He also worked for the Justice Department during President George H.W. Bush’s administration.

This story has been updated with additional details.

CNN’s Maegan Vazquez contributed to this report.


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