Lawyer Neil Eggleston returned to a White House under siege this week as newly minted White House counsel.
The Clinton administration alum succeeds Kathy Ruemmler, who left the post after three years to return to private practice.
Eggleston joins an administration beating back a myriad of legal challenges that have come by way of congressional investigations, a lawsuit from House Speaker John Boehner and a conservative Supreme Court. A seasoned veteran of high-stakes litigation, his resume resembles that of a wartime consigliere.
A graduate of Northwestern Law, Eggleston clerked for Chief Justice Warren Burger and later joined the House Select Committee investigating the Iran-Contra affair during the Ronald Reagan administration. He served as associate White House counsel during the Clinton administration, advising the president and senior White House officials throughout the Whitewater and Lewinsky affairs. He later represented President Bill Clinton twice in a pair of high profile cases concerning the limits of executive privilege.
In private practice, he represented two former cabinet secretaries, Chicago Mayor (and former White House chief of staff) Rahm Emanuel and the outside directors of bankrupt energy giant Enron in a case that pitted him against his predecessor Ruemmler, then lead prosecutor on the criminal case targeting Enron management. He was also retained by Sara Taylor Fagen, President George W. Bush's former political director, when she was called to testify before a Senate panel regarding her involvement in the firing of seven U.S. attorneys that eventually led to the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Fagen's testimony further solidified Eggleston's reputation as one of the nation's leading executive privilege experts.
“He completely led the White House counsel out of a tricky situation when it should have been the other way around,” Fagen said.
In addition to marshaling the administration’s legal strategies, he will also advise the president on judicial nominations, including potential Supreme Court vacancies, congressional investigations, counterterrorism and foreign policy as it relates to international law.