Trump considering D.C. litigator to replace White House counsel McGahn

FILE PHOTO: White House Counsel Don McGahn sits behind U.S. President Donald Trump as the president holds a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, U.S. June 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump is considering Washington litigator Pat Cipollone as a replacement for White House counsel Don McGahn, who will be leaving this autumn, a source familiar with situation said on Friday.

The source said it was unclear how serious a candidate the former Justice Department lawyer is. The White House declined to comment on Cipollone’s candidacy for the position, which was first reported by the Washington Post.

The Post reported that earlier this week Trump interviewed Cipollone, who has advised Trump’s outside legal team.

Cipollone currently is a litigation partner at Stein Mitchell Cipollone Beato & Missner, where he has handled cases ranging from class action suits to regulatory disputes involving federal agencies.

He also has been involved in corporate crisis management and cases involving high levels of government scrutiny, according to his firm biography.

Trump personal attorney Jay Sekulow said in a statement: “Pat Cipollone is a brilliant attorney. I have had the privilege to work with him and can attest to his skill, integrity, and knowledge of the law. If selected by the president, he would make an outstanding White House counsel.”

The Post said Cipollone has been advising Trump’s outside legal team since at least June and is close to Emmit Flood, a White House lawyer who is helping handle the special counsel investigation.

Trump announced on Wednesday that McGahn would leave his position in the coming weeks once the confirmation process for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has been completed. McGahn has been working on the administration’s efforts to reshape the U.S. judiciary.

Reporting by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Cynthia Osterman