Yet another White House aide — Don McGahn — is set to leave his post at the White House as FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation continues into potential obstructions of justice and collusion regarding alleged Russian election interference in 2016. If you're wondering who Don McGahn is, he's currently the White House's top lawyer, and President Trump revealed on Wednesday, Aug. 29 that the attorney would reportedly leave his job in the fall. McGahn's reported departure follows recent reports that he had fully cooperated with Mueller's investigation and conducted over 30 hours of interviews as part of the Russia probe. Elite Daily reached out to the White House for further comment on President Trump's announcement of McGahn's reported departure but did not hear back at the time of publication.
On Wednesday morning, the president took to Twitter to share the news that his longtime lawyer would reportedly leave his post at the White House in the fall, weeks after rumors swirled that he'd been unsettled and taken aback by reports of McGahn's interviews with the special counsel over a nine-month period. Elite Daily reached out to the White House for a comment on McGahn's reported interviews with Mueller but didn't hear back by the time of publication.
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!
While McGahn joined the Trump camp in its early stages and is one of its longest-serving aides, it's safe to say that McGahn and Trump's relationship has been a complicated one. Last year, the attorney reportedly went against President Trump's orders to tell the Justice Department to remove special counsel Robert Mueller, instead McGahn reportedly threatened to resign if the president kept pushing for the firing, according to The New York Times. Elite Daily reached out to the White House for comment at the time of the report, but did not hear back by time of publication.
McGahn has also been indispensable when it comes to President Trump's legacy in the federal judicial court. With McGahn's help, the president selected Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch as well as the controversial nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, which explains why he would want to wait until after Kavanaugh's planned confirmation before taking his leave. According to a CNN poll, the ultra-conservative justice has the lowest public support of any federal judge in decades, which means that McGahn's work is cut out for him as a liason with the federal court and Congress.
"The President and Don have a great relationship," press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement on Saturday, Aug. 18, according to CNN. "He appreciates all the hard work he's done, particularly his help and expertise with judges."
However, according to "two people familiar with his thinking," President Trump was shaken up by the disclosure that his special aide had conducted extensive interviews with Mueller, which was first reported on Aug. 18 by The New York Times. CNN reports that while he knew that the interview was happening, "Trump did not know the conversations stretched for 30 hours or that his legal team didn't conduct a full debriefing with McGahn after the fact." Elite Daily reached out to the White House for comment on McGahn's interviews with Mueller, but did not hear back at the time of publication. With regard to the Russia investigation, President Trump denies any wrongdoing, and he has also repeatedly called the Russia investigation a "rigged witch hunt," per The New York Times.
While President Trump's statement about his top lawyer's reported departure says he "truly [appreciates] McGahn's service," his sudden announcement was apparently a surprise to McGahn, according to reporters from The Washington Post and The New York Times. Elite Daily reached out to the White House for further comment on President Trump's announcement of McGahn's reported departure but did not hear back at the time of publication.
According to a few insider sources, McGahn was surprised by the Tweet but not surprised by how it happened. He reportedly "saw Trump’s tweet as abrupt but typical of how the president acts — and it did not make him angry ... His reaction was, 'Of course it happened this way,'" per two people familiar with the situation, according to the Washington Post.
With Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing just days away — expected to begin on Sept. 4 — and only expected to last three or four days per Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, it'll be interesting to see how much longer the White House liaison will continue carrying out his duties as the shake-up of Trump's inner circle continues.