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Who is Donald McGahn?

President Donald Trump called for special counsel Robert Mueller's firing last June, according to one person familiar...

Posted: Jan 26, 2018 10:46 AM
Updated: Jan 26, 2018 10:46 AM

President Donald Trump called for special counsel Robert Mueller's firing last June, according to one person familiar with the matter.

But the President never went through with the order because White House counsel Donald McGahn threatened to quit instead of carrying out the order, the source said.

McGahn conducted "exhaustive and extensive questioning of Flynn," according to Sean Spicer

Prior to serving as White House counsel, McGahn was a partner at Jones Day

The New York Times first reported the incident Thursday evening, citing four people told of the matter.

Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey in May 2017 -- amid the bureau's investigation into ties between Trump campaign associates and Russia -- redirected the focus of ethical and legal scrutiny squarely on the White House.

Amid accusations of "Nixonian" behavior and as members of Congress in both parties raise questions about Trump's actions, one major player is likely to find himself at the center of the White House's efforts to stave off those accusations and remain on firm legal ground: McGahn, the White House counsel.

But McGahn, who previously served as the Trump campaign's top attorney, had already found himself the subject of scrutiny, after former acting Attorney General Sally Yates' congressional testimony raised fresh questions about McGahn's role in the saga involving former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Flynn quit after news reports revealed that Yates had warned McGahn in late January 2017 that Flynn had misled White House officials about details of his conversations with the Kremlin's US ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Yates explained that she met with McGahn in person on January 26, 2017, to tell him that she had information that statements by Vice President Mike Pence, based on his conversations with Flynn, were false, and Flynn was susceptible of being "essentially blackmailed by the Russians."

Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters in February that Yates merely wanted to give McGahn a "heads up" and that McGahn "informed the President immediately."

McGahn conducted "exhaustive and extensive questioning of Flynn," according to Spicer, and McGahn concluded that Flynn had not violated the law.

Yates' testimony immediately renewed questions about McGahn's handling of the situation: What exactly did he do with the information; did he ever sift through the evidence the Justice Department offered to show him to support the conclusion that Flynn had been compromised; who else was told of Yates' warning and when, and finally, what deliberation took place that ultimately allowed Flynn to keep his job for 18 days after Yates' revelation?

CNN reported in December that McGahn told Trump in January 2017 he believed Flynn had misled the FBI, lied to Pence and should be fired, according to a source familiar with the matter.

McGahn later tried to dissuade Attorney General Jeff Sessions from recusing himself from the investigation into any coordination between Russian meddling in the 2016 election and Trump campaign associates, according to a source close to Sessions.

Finally, late last year McGahn was interviewed in special counsel Mueller's probe.

A former campaign finance lawyer by trade, McGahn now continues finds himself in the midst of a multiple political firestorms, with a client that blasts out tweets on the very hot-button topics McGahn has been tapped to manage.

To say that McGahn has his work cut out of him is, therefore, an understatement.

Election litigator-turned-chief White House lawyer

Prior to working at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, McGahn was a partner specializing in campaign finance at Jones Day in Washington, general counsel for Trump's campaign, in-house counsel for the National Republican Congressional Committee for years and former commissioner for the Federal Election Commission from 2008-2013.

"He rewrote virtually all of the FEC's procedures for audits, enforcement matters and advisory opinions, which provide for an unprecedented amount of due process," according to a statement from Jones Day announcing his departure from the firm.

More than simply an aggressive litigator, he also has been known to have a flair for the dramatic at times. Once while at the FEC, he tore pages of regulations out of book at a public hearing to drive home his point during a rant against his Democratic colleagues.

And unlike many of his straitlaced former colleagues who display diplomas from their Ivy League law schools on their walls, McGahn went to Pennsylvania's Widener University, used to keep his hair relatively long and played in an '80s cover band, according to a Washington Post profile.

"Don has a brilliant legal mind, excellent character and a deep understanding of constitutional law," Trump said in a statement announcing his appointment as White House counsel back in November 2016. "He will play a critical role in our administration, and I am grateful that he is willing to serve our country at such a high-level capacity."

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to reflect McGahn was a former commissioner for the FEC from 2008-2013.

This story was originally published in February 2017 and has been updated to reflect new reporting on McGahn.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 255125

Reported Deaths: 5574
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17197175
Hinds16280322
Harrison13502193
Rankin10749211
Jackson10407183
Lee8819141
Madison8262162
Jones6375110
Forrest5992119
Lauderdale5873180
Lowndes5381116
Lafayette496692
Lamar487565
Washington4800123
Bolivar3978108
Oktibbeha393880
Panola370779
Pontotoc365353
Monroe3543105
Warren353498
Union344760
Marshall342665
Neshoba3383152
Pearl River329799
Leflore3004105
Lincoln297685
Sunflower284969
Hancock273459
Tate272462
Alcorn264053
Pike263577
Itawamba262959
Scott246645
Yazoo245955
Prentiss245652
Copiah241949
Tippah241750
Simpson235767
Coahoma233754
Leake231164
Grenada218470
Covington213071
Marion212072
Adams205870
Wayne201331
Winston200564
George199338
Attala193759
Newton192842
Tishomingo186359
Chickasaw183944
Jasper170835
Holmes168767
Clay159433
Stone143621
Tallahatchie141034
Clarke138960
Calhoun136121
Smith120823
Yalobusha117034
Walthall112336
Noxubee110522
Greene110229
Montgomery109634
Carroll104521
Lawrence102617
Perry102231
Amite98025
Webster92424
Tunica86721
Claiborne86625
Jefferson Davis84825
Humphreys83024
Benton81823
Kemper77220
Quitman6918
Franklin66615
Choctaw60513
Wilkinson58425
Jefferson54319
Sharkey43017
Issaquena1596
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 424028

Reported Deaths: 6121
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson62258921
Mobile30381549
Madison27160186
Tuscaloosa20779267
Montgomery19049305
Shelby18572114
Baldwin16346182
Lee12515101
Morgan12260113
Etowah11757168
Calhoun11161200
Marshall10199107
Houston8630148
Cullman8036105
Limestone802874
Elmore7849101
DeKalb768897
Lauderdale760083
St. Clair7555120
Talladega6180108
Walker5903174
Jackson581341
Colbert533573
Blount530883
Autauga519855
Coffee443956
Dale398581
Franklin367548
Chilton337665
Russell331710
Covington327768
Escambia319342
Dallas303396
Chambers284269
Clarke282133
Tallapoosa2617107
Pike249429
Marion246250
Lawrence244247
Winston227335
Bibb216247
Geneva202535
Marengo199729
Pickens197031
Hale176442
Barbour173036
Butler170258
Fayette169026
Cherokee160530
Henry154421
Monroe145617
Randolph140735
Washington137726
Clay126745
Crenshaw119544
Lamar118219
Cleburne117723
Macon115035
Lowndes110735
Wilcox103121
Bullock99128
Perry97719
Conecuh94420
Sumter89126
Greene76123
Coosa60515
Choctaw51524
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