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Trump Organization Hires Ex-White House Lawyer to Handle Congressional Inquiries

The Trump Organization has hired a former White House lawyer to handle inquiries from the Democrat-led House, two people familiar with the situation said on Friday, part of the strategy by the White House and the company to counter an expected onslaught of requests and subpoenas.

The lawyer, Stefan Passantino, was a White House deputy counsel in charge of ethics policy until last fall. His duties included handling issues related to the personal financial disclosure filings of Mr. Trump’s eldest daughter and senior adviser, Ivanka Trump.

Mr. Passantino plans to recuse himself from any requests from congressional investigators that conflict with the duties he performed at the White House, the two people familiar with the situation said.

Still, the hiring of Mr. Passantino underscores the unusual dynamics at play with the Trump administration. The president has never divested from his private businesses, which are now run by his two oldest sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump. And the question of possible overlap between the Trump Organization and decisions made by the White House is one that Democrats have made clear they plan to scrutinize.

Among the other topics Democrats are expected to ask the Trump Organization about are the payments made by the president to his former personal lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen. Mr. Cohen implicated the president when he pleaded guilty to a campaign finance-related charge in August, saying he was directed by Mr. Trump to pay hush money to a pornographic film actress who planned to go public during the 2016 campaign with her claim of a decade-old affair with the candidate.

Mr. Cohen said on Thursday that he had agreed to testify before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform in an open hearing on Feb. 7.


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