President Trump on Wednesday morning announced that White House Counsel Don McGahn will be leaving his post in the fall.
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
Trump’s tweet confirms an early morning report from Axios that suggested McGahn was mulling leaving the White House either after Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court — a process he’s been heavily involved in — or after midterm elections.
McGahn’s departure could be centered on his opposition to Trump’s interest in pardoning his former campaign manager Paul Manafort. Trump and the White House counsel are reportedly at odds over the potential pardon of Manafort, who has recently earned Trump’s “respect” for not flipping on the President in exchange for a plea deal, like the President’s former lawyer Michael Cohen did.
McGahn surprised the President’s legal team earlier this month after the New York Times reported that he had been fully cooperative with special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe and had reportedly sat for 30 hours of interviews. Trump’s team was not aware of the extent of McGahn’s cooperation until the Times’ report was published and had to debrief with McGahn’s lawyers to find out what the White House counsel told Mueller.
McGahn would like to see Emmet Flood replace him as White House counsel, according to Axios. Flood was involved in both the Clinton and Bush administration and was hired to help oversee the Russia probe.
Trump has not yet landed on a candidate to replace McGahn, but senior officials in the White House would like to see Flood as McGahn’s successor as well, Axios reported.