Pat Cipollone is the former White House Counsel who served during President Donald Trump’s administration. After leaving the White House, he became a partner at Ellis George Cipollone O’Brien Annaguey LLP and works in the Washington, D.C. office.
Cipollone’s background has included time spent working in the Justice Department while President George H.W. Bush was in office. While in the private sector, he handled cases involving government contracts and congressional investigations.
Here’s what you need to know about Pat Cipollone.
1. Pat Cipollone Took a Sharp Stance Against the Impeachment Process Early On & Decided That the White House Would Not Comply With Requests For Documents
Cipollone led the defense for President Trump during the Senate impeachment trial, which took place in early 2020. The former president was ultimately acquitted.
Cipollone sent a letter to House Democrats in October 2019 explaining that the White House would not cooperate with the impeachment inquiry. This meant that the White House would not comply with document requests or agree to testify before lawmakers.
Cipollone accused the Democrats of orchestrating an effort to “overturn the results of the 2016 election and deprive the American people of the President they have freely chosen. Many Democrats now apparently view impeachment not only as a means to undo the democratic results of the last election, but as a strategy to influence the next election, which is barely more than a year away.”
He added that the impeachment inquiry “violates fundamental fairness and constitutionally mandated due process.” You can read the full letter here.
2. Cipollone Was Said to Have Quickly Earned President Trump’s Trust & Respect After Going to Work at the White House
Cipollone served as an informal adviser to the White House legal team for several months before he was brought on in an official capacity, a source confirmed to Business Insider.
After joining the administration, Cipollone was said to have quickly earned President Trump’s trust and respect. Kellyanne Conway told Politico in June of 2019, “He has the president’s ear, he’s earned the president’s respect and that allows people in this building not just to survive but to succeed in doing their jobs.”
Former Trump senior administration officials told the Atlantic that Cipollone was “clear in his admiration” for the president. He was also reportedly known for being very discreet and straightforward.
Alex Azar, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, praised Cipollone to the magazine. “Pat would tell me if I was doing something I shouldn’t be doing or going in the wrong direction. He wouldn’t hesitate to tell me that, and I know he wouldn’t hesitate to tell the president that either.”
3. Cipollone Was Formerly a Litigation Partner at a Firm Based in Washington, D.C. & Served in the Justice Department During the 1990s
Cipollone was a partner at the law firm Stein Mitchell Cipollone Beato & Missner LLP in Washington, D.C. before going to work in the White House. His areas of focus were listed as commercial litigation, anti-trust & trade regulation, and healthcare fraud.
According to the firm bio, Cipollone had experience handling cases involving government contract matters, tax disputes, consumer fraud, crisis management, congressional investigations and insurance litigation, just to name a few. Before joining this firm, Cipollone worked at Kirkland & Ellis LLP.
One previous high-profile case Cipollone worked on included a class-action lawsuit against Equifax. He was on the 11-person legal team that defended customers who had their personal data, including social security numbers, exposed in a major data breach. The cyberattack impacted as many as 145 million customers, NBC News reported.
He is licensed to practice law in Washington D.C. and Illinois. Cipollone earned a bachelor’s degree at Fordham University in 1988. He attended law school at the University of Chicago and served as the managing editor of the University of Chicago Law Review, graduating in 1991.
Cipollone’s legal background also included time spent working under a different administration. He was an attorney in the Justice Department during the administration of President George H.W. Bush, Bloomberg reported. He served under Attorney General William P. Barr focused on communications and special projects.
4. Cipollone Is Close With Fox News Commentator Laura Ingraham & Was Described as a ‘Big Trump Supporter’ Before He Was Hired as White House Counsel
Cipollone and his family have long been friends with Fox News host Laura Ingraham. Ingraham praised Cipollone before his appointment as White House counsel, describing him in a tweet as “Whip-smart, dedicated, tough but fair-minded, respected by both sides of the aisle. (And a great friend to many—incl me.)”
According to the Washington Post, she views Cipollone as her “spiritual mentor” and godfather. She described in her book “Power to the People” that Cipollone played a significant role in her conversion to Catholicism. Ingraham added that Cipollone and his wife were also very supportive of her during her battle with cancer in 2005.
Axios, which first reported in 2018 that Cipollone had begun filling out paperwork to become White House Counsel, cited an unnamed source that described Cipollone as being “loyal” to President Trump. The site quoted this source describing Cipollone as a “true believer” and a “big Trump supporter.”
5. Cipollone Is a Practicing Catholic & Is Married With 10 Children
In his personal life, Cipollone is a practicing Catholic. He was a co-founder of the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast. The annual event first launched in 2004 in Washington, D.C. and typically attracts more than 1,000 participants.
According to the event website, the Prayer Breakfast’s founders were inspired by “Saint John Paul II’s call for a New Evangelization.” Former Senator Rick Santorum is another founder.
Cipollone was previously on the board of directors of the Catholic Information Center. (As of January 2020, Cipollone was no longer listed on the website).
The group’s mission statement explains that the group is “committed to making the Catholic Church alive in the hearts and minds of men and women living and working in our nation’s capital. Through a variety of spiritual, intellectual, and professional programs, the CIC offers the tools to live an integrated life and to engage in all areas of human endeavors.” The organization holds daily weekday masses and confessions, as well as puts on speaking events. The Catholic Information Center is located about half a mile from the White House.
Cipollone is married to wife Rebecca Thelen Cipollone and they have 10 children. You can read more about Cipollone’s family by following the link below.
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