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.