‘Denuded And Shrinking’: WH Counsel’s Skeletal Staff Unprepared For Dem Control

WASHINGTON, D.C. - APRIL 22, 2018:  An American flag flies over the south facade of the White House in Washington, D.C. Additional security fences and barriers were added along the south perimeter to prevent people from jumping the fence and entering the restricted White House grounds. The Secret Service tightened the security on the south side in 2017 by closing access to the entire fence line on the South Lawn. (Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, D.C. - APRIL 22, 2018: An American flag flies over the south facade of the White House in Washington, D.C. Additional security fences and barriers were added along the south perimeter to prevent people f... WASHINGTON, D.C. - APRIL 22, 2018: An American flag flies over the south facade of the White House in Washington, D.C. Additional security fences and barriers were added along the south perimeter to prevent people from jumping the fence and entering the restricted White House grounds. The Secret Service tightened the security on the south side in 2017 by closing access to the entire fence line on the South Lawn. (Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images) MORE LESS

There are 25 lawyers currently working in the White House counsel’s office, a Republican close to the Trump administration told Politico.

White House counsel Don McGahn left before the midterms and his replacement — Pat Cipollone — is still undergoing a background check and hasn’t started working yet. In the next few weeks, Annie Donaldson, who was a top aide for McGahn, is expected to make an exit, leaving the scarcely staffed office likely unprepared to handle the influx of subpoenas after Democrats take over the House.

“They only have roughly 20 dedicated White House lawyers and a bunch of detailees who could leave at any time,” one ex-White House official told Politico. “I don’t think anyone who is paying attention thinks they are prepared for a Democratic takeover.”

Another Republican close to the administration described the office as “denuded and shrinking” and blamed the slow roll of Cipollone’s start date on McGahn’s departure.

“When the head guy is leaving, it is hard to find replacements,” the source told Politico.

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