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White House counsel leaving as GOP investigations take their toll

 August 18, 2023

The White House revealed on Thursday that its chief legal counsel, Stuart Delery, will depart next month after almost three years of advising President Joe Biden's administration.

Delery began his White House tenure as deputy counsel in November of 2020 during Biden's transition period. He then ascended to the post of top legal advisor in 2022 following Dana Remus' exit, Fox News reported.

President Praises Delery

In a public statement, Biden praised Delery for being an unwavering source of innovative legal strategies since the inception of his presidency.

He credited Delery with vital contributions to various legislative milestones, including the COVID-19 response, the American Rescue Plan, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and the Inflation Reduction Act.

Background and Impact on Ongoing Investigations

Delery's decision to leave coincides with increasing investigations by House Republicans into matters related to President Biden's son Hunter and the origins of COVID-19.

Some GOP lawmakers have even been advocating for the president's impeachment, a notion that hasn't yet garnered widespread backing.

In conjunction with these investigations, Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed a special counsel to probe into the discovery of classified documents in two locations connected to President Biden.

These documents were found at his Delaware residence's garage and at his prior office in Washington, D.C.

The president's personal lawyer, Bob Bauer, is handling the classified documents matter, while around two dozen White House aides are assigned to the other investigations.

Delery's Contributions and Supreme Court Ruling

Delery has been instrumental in aiding Biden with his legislative agenda, including the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan and the $1 trillion infrastructure bill.

Additionally, he played a vital part in implementing new rules at the U.S.-Mexico border, the Associated Press reported.

These rules were designed not only to deter illegal crossings but also to guide migrants towards applying for asylum online through a newly established process.

However, the lawyer's tenure was subject to controversy. Delery was the principal advisor behind Biden's student loan relief executive order, an initiative that the Supreme Court subsequently struck down.

The 6-3 ruling found that the administration had exceeded its constitutional authority by claiming that the COVID-19 pandemic constituted an emergency that allowed for the waiving or altering of student loan debt regulations.

Chief of Staff's Request and Impending Challenges

The departure also comes as White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients has requested senior officials and Cabinet members to determine if they will continue in their roles through the 2024 election cycle.

An unnamed White House source informed the Associated Press that Delery's departure had been planned for some time.

The White House has yet to announce a successor for Delery, and his exit might bring new challenges to the administration, especially considering the current climate of investigations and political scrutiny.