President Biden has appointed Ed Siskel, a veteran of the Obama-Biden administration who shielded then-President Obama amid House Republicans’ inquiries into Benghazi and Solyndra, to be his new White House counsel.
“Ed Siskel’s many years of experience in public service and a career defending the rule of law make him the perfect choice to serve as my next White House Counsel,” Biden said in a statement Tuesday, announcing the new hiring.
The president added: “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, and first as a federal prosecutor and then as the top counsel for one of America’s biggest and most vibrant cities, his hometown of Chicago, Ed has shown a deep commitment to public service and respect for the law.”
Siskel’s arrival comes as the president faces a special counsel investigation into his alleged mishandling of classified documents, a special counsel investigation of his eldest son Hunter Biden, and as House Republicans have launched multiple investigations into him, his son and the origins of COVID-19. Also, some Republican lawmakers are pushing to impeach the president.
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President Joe Biden walks to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
On Tuesday, the White House announced that Biden selected Siskel, who rose to the rank of deputy counsel during his nearly four years previously serving in the White House Counsel’s Office, to replace current counsel Stuart Delery, who will leave the post in September. The change in Biden’s senior legal counsel comes as Republican-led investigations continue to heat up around the president, the administration and the Biden family.
Speaking of Siskel, Biden said: “His experience will let him hit the ground running as a key leader on my team as we continue making progress for the American people every day.”
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Siskel helped the Obama administration navigate congressional inquiries and “other political land mines,” including the solar panel company known as Solyndra that received government aid, and the terrorist attacks on the U.S. Consulate compound in Benghazi, Libya, that left four Americans dead.
Siskel also previously oversaw the rollout and subsequent legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act, or “ObamaCare.”
As White House Counsel, Siskel will “lead a team serving the President with counsel on legal matters facing the White House and the country” as well as helping craft policies and executive actions to further push Biden’s agenda, the White House said.
The White House in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 18, 2022. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)
During his previous role in the Obama-Biden White House Counsel’s Office, Siskel led the White House’s legal responses to numerous legal challenges concerning ObamaCare.
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Delery’s departure was announced last week in a statement where Biden said Delery was a “trusted adviser and a constant source of innovative legal thinking since Day One of my Administration.”
He first joined Biden’s transition team in November 2020 before serving as deputy counsel. He was promoted to the top job in 2022 after Biden’s first counsel, Dana Remus, left the White House.
Delery notably oversaw the legal framework of the Inflation Reduction Act, which was the president’s signature environmental legislation, as well as helping Biden craft his student loan handout executive order last year that was ultimately struck down by the Supreme Court.
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He also played a key role in helping the administration put new rules at the U.S.-Mexico border, in an effort to stop illegal border crossings. The border has seen a surge of migrant crossings, including historic records, under the Biden administration.
Ed Siskel rose to the rank of deputy counsel during his nearly four years previously serving in the White House Counsel’s Office in the Obama-Biden administration. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
After his first stint in the White House, Siskel worked in private practice. He then served for two years as corporation counsel to former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who left office to become the U.S. ambassador to Japan.
Before his service in the Obama-Biden White House, Siskel was an associate deputy attorney general at the Justice Department and, prior to that, a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Illinois and a clerk within the U.S. Supreme Court.
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He graduated from Wesleyan University and the University of Chicago Law School.