Trump considers replacing White House lawyer who will lead his impeachment defense on eve of Senate trial: report
US President Donald Trump speaks about the impeachment inquiry during a tour of the Flextronics computer manufacturing facility in Austin, Texas (AFP Photo/MANDEL NGAN)

President Donald Trump has been asking advisers and lawmakers whether he should replace the White House counsel who will lead his impeachment defense once a Senate trial begins.


Two sources told Bloomberg that Trump has recently asked some senior White House staffers, at least one House member and a senator whether he should replace Pat Cipollone, who the president believes isn't aggressive enough.

Senior advisers have cautioned the president against making major staff changes during the impeachment battle, and Trump on Thursday said "it looks like" Cipollone will lead his Senate defense.

But some of the president's outside allies are unhappy with Cipollone's defense, and GOP senators have complained that he hasn't kept them in the loop on strategy.

Cipollone has also clashed on strategy with acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, who wants more control over impeachment.

Mulvaney believes he should be in charge because impeachment is a political issue, and he wants Cipollone to report to his office, but the White House counsel views the impeachment trial as a legal matter that he should lead.

That conflict flared up this week in the drafting of a six-page letter Trump sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi angrily attacking impeachment.

Cipollone and his deputy Pat Philbin were involved in drafting the letter, but other White House officials -- adviser Stephen Miller, legislative aide Eric Ueland and Mulvaney’s counsel, Michael Williams -- also helped write the document.

No names have been floated as a replacement, and Cipollone still has the public support of key White House officials like Kellyanne Conway and Jared Kushner, as well as Trump's attorney Jay Sekulow.