“I have worked with Don for a long time and truly appreciate his service!” President Donald Trump tweeted.
Kavanagh’s confirmation proceeding is likely to begin in the next few days, meaning McGahn could be on the way out by the second week of September.
While McGahn had been a lawyer for Trump’s 2016 campaign, the recent revelation that he had spent 30 hours testifying for Special Counsel Robert Mueller stunned many in Washington. While Trump tried to pooh-pooh the notion that he was unnerved by the co-operation, reports to the contrary have ricocheted around the Beltway.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, replied to Trump’s tweet with beads of sweat practically dripping from the screen. “I hope it’s not true Don McGahn is leaving White House Counsel. U can’t let that happen,” he pleaded. The first reply to Grassley’s tweet came from George Conway, an attorney known for his public differences with wife Kellyanne Conway’s employer, President Trump. “Remember the eighth amendment, senator,” he tweeted, waggishly referring to the amendment to the Constitution barring cruel and unusual punishment.
The departure of McGahn has been rumored for months, especially given Trump’s well-known irritation about Attorney General Jeff Sessions recusing himself from the Russia investigatio in 2017n given his longtime advisory role to Trump. McGahn was the one to sign off on that move.
Earlier this month, after The New York Times broke the news of McGahn’s participation in the Mueller probe, Trump tweeted, “I allowed White House Counsel Don McGahn, and all other requested members of the White House Staff, to fully cooperate with the Special Counsel. In addition we readily gave over one million pages of documents. Most transparent in history. No Collusion, No Obstruction. Witch Hunt!”
Emmet Flood, who is heading up legal strategy around Russia inside the White House, has been mentioned as a possible replacement for McGahn.