World

White House Counsel Don McGahn to Leave Post

White House Counsel Don McGahn to Leave Post

McGahn has served as the lawyer overseeing White House legal concerns more generally.

Emmet Flood, who joined Trump's White House in May as in-house counsel for the Mueller probe, has been considered a leading candidate to replace McGahn and has the departing attorney's support, two administration officials said.

Turnover in the White House counsel role is not uncommon: Barack Obama had four; George W Bush three; and Bill Clinton six.

McGahn's departure had been widely expected but was met with dismay by Senate Judiciary chairman Chuck Grassley, who wrote in a tweet addressed to Trump: "I hope it's not true McGahn is leaving WhiteHouse Counsel".

However, there is no guarantee Brett Kavanaugh will be confirmed to the Supreme Court, throwing the timing of McGahn's departure into question.

The 50-year-old McGahn would become the latest in a long line of officials who have left Trump's 19-month presidency, either officials who have been fired, pushed out or voluntarily departed.

Those and other episodes, including the firing of FBI director James Comey, have made McGahn a potentially important witness as Mueller examines whether Trump illegally tried to obstruct the investigation - an offense that could lead to impeachment.

Mr Trump tweeted that he had given Mr McGahn permission to talk with investigators and that he nothing to hide. "He's super well-respected around the building but there's not a plan locked in place at this point".

"Don is the most impressive White House Counsel during my time in Washington, and I've known them all". Other topics included Mr Trump's criticism of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the Russian Federation probe.

And when Attorney General Jeff Sessions faced pressure to recuse himself, Trump enlisted McGahn to urge Sessions not to take that step.

Mr McGahn is one of the most powerful people in the White House, spearheading the successful nomination of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.

At a White House meeting, the United States president said everything was at stake for his conservative agenda if his party loses in November, according to an audiotape of the meeting obtained by the "Times".

Mr McGahn had acted as liaison between the administration and justice officials involved with the Russian Federation inquiry. His general attitude after 18 months in this White House, this person said, was "of course it happened this way".

Before working at the White House, McGahn was a campaign finance attorney at Jones Day, a Washington law firm that has filled several top legal roles within the administration.