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Litigator Pat Cipollone considered top contender for new White House counsel

Trump on McGahn departure

Reporting by Major Garrett

Longtime Washington litigator Pat Cipollone is the top contender to be White House counsel, according to three sources familiar with the process. Cipollone could start within two weeks but a final decision has not yet been announced. 

The current The current White House counsel, Don McGahn, is leaving this fall, after helping secure the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. 

An early supporter of Mr. Trump's, Cipollone is currently a partner at the law firm Stein Mitchell Cipollone Beato & Missner LLP where he's handled a number of cases involving state and federal agencies. Cippolone is a friend of Emmet Flood, another member of the president's legal team, and he helped with debate prep for Mr. Trump during the 2016 campaign, sources said. He is considered to be a solid lawyer with good credentials.

Cipollone also has expertise in defamation cases and litigation for public figures, companies and organizations and has dealt with litigation with major media organizations, according to Stein Mitchell. He has also served in the Justice Department, under Attorney General William Barr in George H.W. Bush administration. 

The president was asked over the weekend about whether he was hiring Cipollone. Mr. Trump called him "a great guy" and told reporters at the White House that he would be naming the next White House counsel "over a short period of time." 

"He's very talented and he's a good man but I don't want to say yet," he added. 

CBS News' Emily Tillett contributed to this report.