White House counsel Cipollone likely to have leading role at Senate trial: official

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – White House counsel Pat Cipollone is likely to play a leading role in defending President Donald Trump at a potential U.S. Senate impeachment trial, an administration official said on Friday.

The likelihood of a Senate trial crept closer as the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, voting along party lines, approved two articles of impeachment.

If the full House approves the articles as expected next week, the Republican-controlled Senate would then hold an impeachment trial.

The White House has not yet announced who would spearhead the defense of Trump on the Senate floor.

But the official said Cipollone would be expected to play a leading role. He has been working with deputies Patrick Philbin and Michael Purpura.

Cipollone, a 53-year-old Republican, sent an eight-page letter to Congress in October laying out why the White House was refusing to cooperate with the House inquiry, calling it a “charade.”

Trump lawyers are likely to argue that there is no evidence that the president did anything wrong and that the House investigation was partisan and flawed.

Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by David Gregorio

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