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White House Counsel Bauer Exits, Replaced By Career Prosecutor

President Obama's top lawyer, Bob Bauer, is leaving the White House to return to his law firm, Perkins and Coie.

Bauer isn't leaving Obama's orbit completely, however. He will advise Mr. Obama's reelection campaign and serve as the president's personal lawyer.

He'll be replaced by a veteran prosecutor, Kathryn Ruemmler. She has spent most of her career at the Justice Department.

She started out handling drug and crime cases in Washington D.C. then then took on a leading role in the prosecution of former Enron executives.

Ruemmler helped run the Justice Department in the early days of the Obama administration. And since last year she's been a top deputy in the White House counsel's office, giving advice on sensitive issues such as the prison at Guantanamo Bay.

An excerpt from the White House statement:

"Bob is a good friend and has served as a trusted advisor for many years," said President Obama. "Bob was a critical member of the White House team. He has exceptional judgment, wisdom, and intellect, and he will continue to be one of my close advisors."

At the end of June, Bauer will return to Perkins Coie where he will resume his practice focused on serving as general counsel to the President's reelection campaign, general counsel to the Democratic National Committee, and personal lawyer to President Obama.

"Kathy is an outstanding lawyer with impeccable judgment," said President Obama. "Together, Bob and Kathy have led the White House Counsel's office, and Kathy will assure that it continues to successfully manage its wide variety of responsibilities."

Correction at 4:10 p.m. ET: Earlier, we mistakenly referred to Ruemmler as "Kathleen." We've now corrected her first name in the post above.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Carrie Johnson is a justice correspondent for the Washington Desk.