Nov 23, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: VP Harris' top legal counsel leaving White House

Josh Hsu talks to Vice President Kamala Harris while walking.

Counsel Josh Hsu (left) with Vice President Kamala Harris and other aides. Photo: Lawrence Jackson via the White House

Vice President Kamala Harris' chief legal adviser, Josh Hsu, is departing the White House at the end of the year, two people familiar with the matter told Axios.

Why it matters: Hsu's departure comes as the administration gears up to respond to House GOP investigations and President Biden contemplates a re-election decision with implications for Harris' political future.

  • He spent more than five years working with Harris across the Senate, the 2020 presidential campaign and the White House.

What we're watching: Hsu, who is leaving for private practice, helped with the confirmation of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson and advises on judicial nominations and policy issues, including reproductive rights and voting rights.

Before joining the Biden administration, he served as national policy director for Harris' presidential campaign and was her deputy chief of staff in the Senate.

  • He advised her through the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh and the questioning of then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions and then-FBI Director James Comey on the Russia investigation.
  • Hsu was previously chief counsel for nominations for Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

What they're saying: "Josh is an incredible legal mind and this entire White House has greatly benefited from his talent," White House chief of staff Ron Klain told Axios.

  • "I've been through many judicial confirmations, and Josh's perspective on the White House’s Supreme Court confirmation team ensuring the historic confirmation of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, was very impressive," he said.
  •  "Josh was a great partner who always provided excellent counsel and sound judgment to help further advance our Administration priorities — from judicial nominations to actions on reproductive rights and protecting democracy," former White House counsel Dana Remus told Axios.
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