President Donald Trump is reportedly blaming one of his most loyal Washington hands for not containing the Russia probe before it got messy.
According to a Friday report from Politico — which cited anonymous White House advisers, both formal and informal — White House counsel Donald McGahn is the latest person on the receiving end of Trump’s outbursts toward staff.
McGahn, who was one of the first Washington elite to support the President during his campaign, took a step back from the Russia probe when Trump’s personal attorney Marc Kasowitz was hired to take over. One of Politico’s sources said Trump’s anger toward McGahn for failing to contain the investigation represents his need to blame someone for the legal problems that have plagued his young presidency.
“This is one of the misconceptions about the White House counsel’s office. Don represents the institution. What is going on with Russia and Mueller are matters involving Trump in his personal capacity,” one of the informal White House advisers told Politico. “I am not sure the president completely understands how these roles are segregated.”
Trump’s frustrations with McGahn began to surface after multiple courts struck down his executive order banning immigration from several majority-Muslim countries, according to the report, and the President frequently complained about the way the appeal process was handled under McGahn’s leadership.
He also railed against McGahn when Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe, per Politico’s sources. Trump’s displeasure with the White House counsel is indicative of his concerns that he didn’t get good advice about the Russia investigation before Kasowitz came on board, one source said.
“I think Don has done a reasonable job as anyone could to keep things in perspective and to try to articulate to the president, ‘I can’t do the thing you’re suggesting. You have to let the process unfold,’” the advisor told Politico.