WASHINGTON — White House Counsel Don McGahn will leave the Trump administration this fall, the latest high-profile exit of the top members of the president’s team.
President Donald Trump announced that McGahn will leave in a tweet on Wednesday morning.
“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!” Trump wrote.
McGahn’s exit will likely leave his successor to deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. If Democrats win the House or the Senate, his successor also would likely have to grapple with what is expected to be a flurry of new congressional investigations.
His exit also comes after the news last week that he met with Mueller and has cooperated with the investigation. According to The New York Times, McGahn met with investigators for a total of 30 hours over the past nine months. Mueller’s team is looking into whether Trump obstructed justice in trying to end the investigation.
Axios first reported on Wednesday of Mcgann’s pending exit, and reported that his preferred successor is Emmet Flood, who works in the office of the White House Counsel.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, responded to the news of McGahn’s departure by urging Trump to try to retain him. “@realdonaldtrump I hope it’s not true McGahn is leaving WhiteHouse Counsel. U can’t let that happen,” he wrote on Twitter.
George Conway, the husband of Kellyanne Conway, a top adviser to Trump, tweeted back at Grassley. “Remember the eighth amendment, senator,” he wrote. The Eighth Amendment is the prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.
The Times reported in January that Trump ordered Mueller to be fired in June, 2017, but McGahn threatened to quit, and the president backed down.