Biden names former Obama-era lawyer as White House counsel

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden named former federal prosecutor and Chicago lawyer Ed Siskel as his top White House lawyer on Tuesday, saying the former White House deputy counsel would start his new post next month.

Siskel served in the White House Counsel’s office for nearly four years when Biden was vice president under former President Barack Obama, including as deputy counsel, the White House said in a statement.

“For nearly four years in the White House when I was vice president, he helped the Counsel’s Office navigate complex challenges and advance the president’s agenda on behalf of the American people,” Biden wrote. “His experience will let him hit the ground running as a key leader on my team.”

The appointment comes as Biden seeks to advance his legislative agenda and faces ongoing Republican-led congressional investigations.

U.S. House Republicans have sought to escalate their probes into the business dealings of Biden’s son Hunter, and some right-wing lawmakers have sought an impeachment investigation into the president.

A Chicago native, Siskel returned to the Midwest after leaving the Obama administration for stints in private practice as well as a two-year post as counsel for Chicago under Mayor Rahm Emanuel, according to the statement.

As the top lawyer for the nation’s third-largest city, he sued the Trump administration in 2017 over its so-called sanctuary city policy.

Before working under Obama, he served in the U.S. Department of Justice as senior counsel to the deputy attorney general and then as associate deputy attorney general. He previously was a federal prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Illinois and was a clerk for then-Justice John Stevens on the U.S. Supreme Court, the White House said.

Siskel replaces Stuart Delery, who is stepping down after serving as White House counsel since July 2022.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Bernadette Baum)