President Trump announced on Twitter this morning that White House Special Counsel Don McGahn will be leaving in the fall, after Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation process concludes.
The Wall Street Journal reports that McGahn is overseeing Kavanaugh’s confirmation process. McGahn is said to have the goal of shepherding two nominees to the Supreme Court. If Kavanaugh is confirmed, he will have achieved that goal, Neil Gorsuch being the first of Trump’s nominees to be confirmed.
According to CNN, Emmett Flood, an attorney with experience in defending Bill Clinton against impeachment who was brought on the team by McGahn, is a possible replacement.
McGahn, who served as the Trump campaign lead attorney during the primary and general election, leaves the White House after a turbulent year and a half, in which the Russia investigation and the president’s ire with the people involved have loomed large in his role as attorney for the office of the president. He has found himself at the center of controversy more than once while serving in the White House.
He was warned by Sally Yates, former acting attorney general, that Michael Flynn was compromised by Russia and had lied to the Vice President. Flynn, Trump’s National Security Adviser was forced to resign but only after McGahn and the administration dragged their feet.
McGahn, at the President’s bidding, attempted to convince Attorney General Jeff Sessions not to recuse himself from overseeing the Russia Investigation and was asked to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller. He refused to fire Mueller, putting him at odds with the President and their relationship has been rocky, with the president complaining to aids about McGahn and McGahn contemplating leaving his position.
Earlier this month, the New York Times reported that Don McGahn has been fully cooperating with the special counsel’s investigation and has given 30 hours of interviews with prosecutors in an attempt to protect himself from being blamed for obstruction. Trump and his personal lawyers perplexed McGahn and his lawyer by giving McGahn permission to cooperate. The full scope of that cooperation and the lack of knowledge that it entails has only recently been appreciated by the Trump legal team.
Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing is set to start in less than a week and is expected to last three or four days.