On Wednesday, President Trump confirmed rumors that White House Counsel Don McGahn will be departing from the White House.
BREAKING: Trump: White House counsel Don McGahn will be departing in the fall after vote on Kavanaugh confirmation.
— The Associated Press (@AP) August 29, 2018
In a tweet, Trump said McGahn will be leaving his post in the Fall, soon after Judge Brett Kavanugh is confirmed to the United States Supreme Court.
“White House Counsel Don McGahn will be leaving his position in the fall, shortly after the confirmation (hopefully) of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court,” Trump tweeted. “I have worked with Don for a long time and truly appreciate his service!”
White House Counsel Don McGahn will be leaving his position in the fall, shortly after the confirmation (hopefully) of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court. I have worked with Don for a long time and truly appreciate his service!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 29, 2018
As ABC News reports, rumors have been circulating for months now that McGahn was leaving amid a “frayed relationship” between him and Trump:
McGahn had openly expressed his frustrations regarding his frayed relationship with the president and had signaled his desire to leave the White House months ago. McGahn had decided to stay on to lead the confirmation process of Kavanaugh, according to sources.
McGahn has cooperated extensively with special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russia’s meddling with the 2016 presidential election, meeting with Mueller’s team of investigators at least three times, according to news reports. Sources familiar with his cooperation told ABC News that McGahn has been questioned by the special counsel’s team more extensively than any other member of the White House staff who has been interviewed.
White House officials, including the president himself, have insisted they did not have any concerns related to testimony from McGahn that could bolster claims the president sought to obstruct justice.
Republican Senator Chuck Grassley quickly voiced his disapproval over the departure.
“I hope it’s not true McGahn is leaving White House Counsel. U can’t let that happen,” the Senator from Iowa tweeted to President Trump.
@realDonaldTrump I hope it’s not true McGahn is leaving WhiteHouse Counsel. U can’t let that happen
— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) August 29, 2018
Here’s more on McGahn, from Axios:
The big picture: This potentially puts a successor in charge of fielding a blizzard of requests or subpoenas for documents and testimony if Democrats win control of the House in the midterms. And if the White House winds up fighting special counsel Robert Mueller, an epic constitutional fight could lie ahead.
Note: The author of this article has included commentary that expresses an opinion and analysis of the facts.
The timing for a McGahn departure is right for both sides, the officials say:
- McGahn, whom some Trump allies fear coughed up too much information during his extensive cooperation with Mueller’s team, would leave on a high note, after the confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch, and the expected confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
- McGahn ran point on Trump’s record run of conservative judicial selections, which has endeared Trump not only to his base but also to Republicans skeptical of his presidency.
- In Flood, Trump would get a White House counsel with impeachment chops from the Clinton years, and little internal baggage.
- McGahn has told a confidant that he doesn’t expect to leave Trumpworld entirely after he leaves the White House. He privately said he expects to continue to be of assistance to the president through the re-election campaign.