Trump White House lawyers up

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Story highlights

  • Four deputy White House counselors will help McGahn
  • The White House has hired 26 attorneys to serve in the counsel's office

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump announced Tuesday his team of White House lawyers is bulking up, establishing a larger footprint than the past two administrations had at this point.

The White House has hired 26 attorneys to serve in the counsel's office under Don McGahn, the Jones Day partner and longtime Trump campaign attorney. That's up from the 22-attorney team serving President Barack Obama at the start of his administration and just a dozen that started off in the early months of President George W. Bush's White House.
McGahn, who serves as White House counsel, assembled the team during the chaotic first weeks of the Trump administration, which has already tested the limits of presidential authority, skirted ethical lines and faced a hefty number of legal challenges.
    Four deputy White House counselors will help McGahn oversee a team of 20 associate White House counselors and one senior counselor, according to a White House statement.
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    McGahn's deputies include Greg Katsas, a fellow partner at Jones Day who argued before the US Supreme Court ; Makan Delrahim, a partner at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck; John Eisenberg, a partner at Kirkland & Ellis; and Stefan Passantino, who chaired Dentons' political law team.
    Passantino will lead a team of three attorneys dedicated to addressing ethics and compliance issues for the real estate mogul president, who retains a vested interest in his business. Trump declined to fully divest from his financial assets and business interests, instead placing his assets in a trust managed by his two adult sons. He also filled his Cabinet with more millionaires and billionaires than previous administrations, adding an additional layer of potential conflicts of interest and ethical challenges for the White House's legal office to address.
    Eisenberg, a former national security official at the Justice Department during the Bush administration, will serve as the top legal adviser to the National Security Council.
    Four of the new White House Counsel attorneys, including its newly hired chief of staff, worked at the Jones Day law firm with McGahn.
    Seven of the new White House attorneys were partners at Jones Day or another private law firm.
    The Office of the White House Counsel is likely to swell in size in the months and years to come, if the past administration serves as a road map.
    The office under the Obama administration grew to include 41 attorneys by the summer of 2009.