Whether or not it is an indication of potential legal troubles over Obama’s horizon is unclear, but as Politico reports, the White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler, a Georgetown Law graduate who assumed office on June 30, 2011, “has told President Obama she plans to leave by the end of the year” and a search for her replacement has begun.
In itself this does not appear to be a novel development: ‘Ruemmler had planned to leave at the end of 2012 – and had found a place to live in New York, where she planned to practice – but stayed at the behest of the boss. Ruemmler, known as a blunt, lawyer’s lawyer, was deputy to the previous White House counsel, Bob Bauer, and succeeded him in June of 2011. She came into the White House with close ties to John Brennan and Dennis McDonough from her time at DOJ, where she was principal associate deputy attorney general. Earlier in her career, she prosecuted Enron’s Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling. When you walk into her West Wing office, you see the framed headline: “GUILTY.””
It appears that Ruemmler had encountered “recent criticism over her decision not to inform Obama that the IRS had looked into the political activity of nonprofit groups, primarily conservative organizations. Lanny Davis, who served as counsel to Bill Clinton, published an op-ed in The Hill calling on her to resign over the imbroglio.”
On Wednesday, Davis praised Ruemmler as “an extremely well-regarded and outstanding lawyer,” but also argued that “the White House counsel has to have primarily political and media skills to match legal skills.”
In a subsequent article, Politico muses on who may be Ruemmler’s succesor:
Ron Klain, the former chief of staff to vice presidents Joe Biden and Al Gore, is one of the small set of Washington superlawyers garnering buzz as possible candidates to succeed Kathryn Ruemmler as President Barack Obama’s White House counsel… Though White House aides declined to comment on potential successors, Klain, now the president of Case Holdings, and Jeh Johnson, the former top lawyer at the Pentagon, were both mentioned by sources familiar with the tiny universe of elite Washington political lawyers. Johnson and Klain both declined to comment for this story.
Klain, 52, worked in the counsel’s office early in the Clinton administration before becoming Attorney General Janet Reno’s chief of staff and later Gore’s top aide. His role fighting for Gore in the Florida recount in the aftermath of the 2000 presidential election was popularized by actor Kevin Spacey in an HBO movie. When Biden became vice president, he tapped Klain — his former counsel in the Senate — to lead the staff.
Oh well, Saul Goodman is always available:
And now, back to watching the next key action by the people who really run the country, and the world, the central planners from the Marriner Eccles building.