Bob Bauer stepping down as White House counsel

Washington Bureau

White House Counsel Bob Bauer is stepping down from his West Wing post, the Obama administration announced Thursday.

Bauer will return to private practice at the firm Perkins Coie, where he will continue to advise President Obama’s reelection campaign and the Democratic National Committee, and serve as Obama’s personal attorney.

Kathryn Ruemmler, Bauer’s principal deputy, will replace him as White House counsel.

“Bob was a critical member of the White House team. He has exceptional judgment, wisdom, and intellect, and he will continue to be one of my close advisors,” Obama said in a statement. “Together, Bob and Kathy have led the White House counsel’s office, and Kathy will assure that it continues to successfully manage its wide variety of responsibilities.”


Bauer was Obama’s second counsel, replacing Gregory Craig, who left after less than one year. Bauer was lead counsel for Obama’s 2008 campaign; his departure reflects a broader reshuffling of White House aides ahead of the reelection campaign.

Ruemmler’s resume includes six years as a federal prosecutor. In that role she handled the prosecution of former Enron executives. She also served as an associate counsel in the Clinton administration.

The White House counsel has a broad portfolio as a senior advisor to the president, focusing on legal issues related to administration policy. The counsel typically plays a key role in the vetting and interviews for nominations to the Supreme Court and other key posts.