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Who knew? Trump's top White House attorney is Covington Catholic High School graduate

Cincinnati Enquirer logo Cincinnati Enquirer 1/23/2019 Jason Williams

a man wearing a suit and tie: White House general counsel Pat Cipollone is a 1984 graduate of Covington Catholic High School. © Provided by Gannett Co., Inc. White House general counsel Pat Cipollone is a 1984 graduate of Covington Catholic High School. The nationwide firestorm surrounding Covington Catholic has brought to light that one of the Greater Cincinnati high school's most prominent graduates happens to be President Trump's top White House attorney.

Pat Cipollone, CovCath class of 1984, recently took over as White House general counsel. He had previously served as an informal adviser to the president on the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections.

What does Cipollone's White House role have to do with last week's incident in Washington, D.C., involving current CovCath students? Absolutely nothing, but it wasn't been widely known that Trump had a top adviser directly connected to CovCath – or to Greater Cincinnati, for that matter.

Several attempts to interview Cipollone on Tuesday were unsuccessful. A woman at Cipollone's suburban Washington, D.C., home told The Enquirer he was not available for comment.

Trump took to Twitter on Monday night and again Tuesday morning to defend the CovCath students, embroiled in a controversy for their behavior during other groups' protests and marches last week near the Lincoln Memorial. It's unknown whether Cipollone advised the president to weigh in.

Cipollone, 52, has spent most of his nearly 30-year career in Washington and Chicago. Not much is publicly known about him back home in Greater Cincinnati.

In extensive Google and Enquirer archives searches, in fact, one of the few news items that showed Cipollone's connection to the region was a blurb about his hiring in the Trump administration buried on page 26 in last month's Covington Catholic Journal school magazine. 

Here are some other things to know about Cipollone: 

• He's a committed Catholic advocate. In 2004, Cipollone was one of the founding members of the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast. Conservative former presidential candidate Rick Santorium also helped start the annual prayer meeting, which draws more than 1,500 people to Washington. 

• Cipollone is "well-liked and respected" by Trump's personal attorneys, the Washington Post reported in October, when Cipollone was hired. In the same article, Trump was quoted as saying: "Pat's a great guy. He's very talented."

• Fox News' Laura Ingraham has called Cipollone her "godfather" and "spiritual mentor" because he helped the conservative commentator convert to Catholicism in 2002, according to The Post.

• After leaving CovCath, Cipollone received his bachelor's degree from New York City's Fordham University. He went to law school at the University of Chicago.

• Cipollone worked in the Justice Department during George W. Bush's presidency. Cipollone was then a partner in the Washington-based law firm Stein Mitchell Cipollone Beato & Missner LLP. (The firm has since dropped Cipollone from its name.) W. Neil Eggleston, former White House general counsel under President Obama, told The Post that ex-law partner Cipollone is "used to the high-profile litigation with all eyes on you."

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Who knew? Trump's top White House attorney is Covington Catholic High School graduate

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