White House Counsel's Office Hires New Lawyers

By Nethani Palmani | Mar 13, 2017 03:18 AM EDT

The White House Counsel's office is hiring new lawyers due to the rising legal battles in ethics and policy issues. The office has so far hired 26 lawyers, according to The Associated Press' report.

Four lawyers who came from the Jones Day law firm are now a part of the White House Counsel, Don McGahn's team. The counsel's office oversees judicial and executive branch appointments while giving legal advice to the president on policymaking, which includes executive orders and ethical issues.

The New York Times has described McGahn "the legal arbiter for the complicated thicket of ethical issues awaiting a president-elect who has built a vast business empire." He has worked with Trump since the beginning of his presidential campaign in 2015 and played a major role in the selection process for Judge Neil Gorsuch, Trump's pick to be the next Supreme Court justice.

With the new hiring of lawyers, the White House Counsel's team is expected to be facing "a bounty of ethics questions" from different parties. It will likely happen, considering President Donald Trump's global business empire and a Cabinet consisting of comparatively wealthy business leaders than in the past.

McGahn has organized the White House Counsel office under four deputy counsels, according to ABC News. It includes Passantino, previous chairman of the Dentons political law team; Greg Katsas, a partner at Jones Day; Makan Delrahim, a partner at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck; and John Eisenberg, a partner at Kirkland & Ellis.

The White House counsel's office includes Stefan Passantino as a special ethics counselor, and also, three other senior attorneys dedicated to that topic. Meanwhile, Eisenberg's national security team includes Michael Ellis, former general counsel to the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in the House of Representatives; former general counsel at the Department of Homeland Security, John Walk; and Schuyler Schouten, an associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell.

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