Don McGahn’s tenure as White House Counsel has been tumultuous to say the least. He has been at the heart of everything in the administration’s legal sphere, which is a lot. From Robert Mueller to Jeff Sessions to inheriting challenges with the likes of Paul Manafort, McGahn has been extremely busy.
Now, it appears he is leaving soon.
White House counsel Don McGahn set to depart sometime this fall
Top White House officials and sources close to White House counsel Don McGahn tell Axios that McGahn will step down this fall — after Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed to the Supreme Court, or after the midterms. The president later confirmed Axios’ reporting in a tweet.
The big picture: This potentially puts a successor in charge of fielding a blizzard of requests or subpoenas for documents and testimony if Democrats win control of the House in the midterms. And if the White House winds up fighting special counsel Robert Mueller, an epic constitutional fight could lie ahead.
Emmet Flood’s name is the natural choice and fits with the times. If there are challenges for the administration that turn into impeachment talks, Flood has experience as a Bill Clinton administration alumnus. If it doesn’t go that far, he’s still a solid choice as someone respected by both sides of the political fence.
Regardless of who replaces McGahn, this is a big story. It won’t get the same attention as bigger names in Trump’s world, but it’s significant. Even Chris Cillizza, whose opinion I rarely respect, came to the right conclusion on McGahn’s impending departure:
Yes, Don McGahn leaving the White House is a very big deal
If McGahn’s departure had nothing to do with the ongoing legal and political swirl created by the Mueller probe, he could have easily delayed his departure into the private sector for a few more months — maybe lasting until after the Mueller report was released. He isn’t. That’s telling.
Make no mistake: None of this is “going according to plan” for the Trump administration. McGahn’s departure takes an already difficult situation for this White House and this President and makes it that much tougher. No spin can change that basic fact.
Yes, there will be spin. But there is no way to paint this as good news for the President. McGahn was pressing all the legal levers for the President. Rudy Giuliani is just a public relations lawyer. That means someone else will have to be shown all the skeletons during an extremely important time in this presidency.
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