Don McGahn out as White House counsel, sources say

White House counsel Don McGahn's final day at the White House was Wednesday, according to a White House offi...

Posted: Oct 18, 2018 12:33 PM
Updated: Oct 18, 2018 12:33 PM

White House counsel Don McGahn's final day at the White House was Wednesday, according to a White House official and a source with knowledge of the matter.

McGahn has been planning to leave the White House, but a source told CNN his departure was expedited after President Donald Trump said Tuesday he had selected Patrick Cipollone as his successor. Cipollone is a seasoned litigator and former Justice Department official who served during President George H.W. Bush's administration.

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A White House official said McGahn had a 20-minute farewell meeting with Trump Wednesday and that it was a "good meeting," with the President ticking off McGahn's accomplishments.

White House chief of staff John Kelly was hoping that McGahn would stay through the end of the year, according to the White House official, but McGahn felt it was time to move on. There was no fanfare to the departure -- McGahn just felt the timing was right -- and he informed the President and then Kelly, according to the official.

"Typically you would have the incumbent stay until the successor was ready to take his place. But in this case McGahn was tired of the President and the President was tired of McGahn," a source told CNN.

McGahn leaves his post after serving as White House counsel through the tumultuous first 18 months of Trump's presidency, steering the White House's handling of the Russia investigation and responding internally to the President's mercurial moods as the investigation ballooned.

McGahn has been the key architect of Trump's efforts to reshape the federal courts, and helped secure that part of the President's conservative legacy. McGahn, along with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, successfully shepherded two Supreme Court nominees onto the bench as well as 84 new federal judges since the President's inauguration.

McGahn, a longtime friend of new Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, orchestrated Kavanaugh's introduction to the President. Both Kavanaugh and McGahn served in President George W. Bush's administration and have deep ties to Washington's legal community.

As Kavanaugh was voted in after allegations of sexual misconduct almost derailed his confirmation, McGahn praised the President and told CNN, "President Trump stayed firm. Others would have cut and run when things got tough."

His departure is another one from the handful of top aides who worked on the Trump campaign before joining the White House. McGahn served as the Trump campaign's top attorney throughout the GOP primary and 2016 presidential election, becoming a trusted adviser to the future President in the process.

But McGahn immediately faced controversy in his earliest days at the White House, beginning with acting Attorney General Sally Yates' warning to McGahn that then-national security adviser Michael Flynn could be blackmailed by Russia and that he had likely lied to Vice President Mike Pence. Flynn was forced to resign after reports revealed Yates' warning to McGahn about Flynn's conduct.

As the Justice Department and congressional investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election heated up, McGahn found himself increasingly at the center of Trump's and the White House's response to the investigation.

And when Attorney General Jeff Sessions faced pressure to recuse himself, Trump enlisted McGahn to urge Sessions not to take that step. Sessions eventually did recuse himself, giving his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, the ultimate authority to appoint a special counsel.

McGahn threatened to resign in the summer of 2017 after Trump ordered him to fire Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia's election meddling and questions of obstruction of justice.

For McGahn, the President's order to fire Mueller was a bridge too far -- with the White House counsel refusing to follow through on the order, a person familiar with the matter told CNN. The New York Times first reported Trump's move to fire Mueller and McGahn's refusal to carry out the order.

The slew of incidents involving the President and McGahn amid the Russia investigation made the White House counsel an important witness in Mueller's investigation, with McGahn sitting for interviews with Mueller's team in December.

Trump was reportedly caught off guard and unnerved by the disclosure that McGahn had cooperated extensively with Mueller's probe and participated in several interviews spanning 30 hours over the last nine months. Trump did not know the full extent of McGahn's discussions, two people familiar with his thinking said.

Before joining the Trump campaign and the White House, McGahn worked at the powerful DC law firm Jones Day and previously served as a commissioner on the Federal Election Commission.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 161516

Reported Deaths: 3916
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10708104
Hinds10519205
Harrison7555113
Jackson6708128
Rankin6130112
Lee547697
Madison5202110
Forrest400187
Jones382189
Lauderdale3727147
Lafayette344057
Washington3367108
Lamar307550
Lowndes261167
Oktibbeha259962
Bolivar250185
Panola240253
Neshoba2311122
Marshall227151
Leflore213991
Monroe212278
Pontotoc211231
Lincoln200867
Sunflower195555
Warren184958
Tate184051
Union176826
Copiah172540
Pike168360
Pearl River163870
Yazoo162940
Scott162730
Itawamba162637
Alcorn160428
Coahoma157844
Prentiss156732
Simpson155153
Adams148352
Grenada147145
Leake143344
Holmes135761
Covington135541
Tippah132530
George131725
Winston131726
Hancock130942
Wayne124924
Attala124735
Marion124248
Tishomingo114844
Chickasaw112132
Newton112129
Tallahatchie100727
Clay97127
Clarke95653
Jasper88523
Stone83115
Calhoun81513
Walthall79930
Montgomery78826
Carroll76315
Smith75716
Lawrence75214
Yalobusha74428
Noxubee74217
Perry69326
Tunica63519
Greene63022
Jefferson Davis60217
Amite59315
Claiborne59316
Humphreys55719
Quitman5117
Benton50518
Kemper49318
Webster47914
Wilkinson41322
Jefferson38712
Franklin3726
Choctaw3697
Sharkey33117
Issaquena1234
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 260359

Reported Deaths: 3776
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson34716513
Mobile20452370
Madison14215153
Tuscaloosa13755173
Montgomery12731243
Shelby1110278
Baldwin9341137
Lee801566
Morgan722855
Etowah692170
Calhoun6809121
Marshall675058
Houston552739
DeKalb512940
Cullman480246
St. Clair460357
Limestone455046
Lauderdale443357
Elmore432567
Walker3861112
Talladega381157
Jackson361623
Colbert341546
Blount315845
Autauga289342
Franklin262634
Coffee257717
Dale244454
Dallas234932
Chilton233641
Covington232434
Russell23153
Escambia206932
Tallapoosa190291
Chambers187551
Clarke164120
Pike163814
Marion148236
Winston144725
Lawrence137336
Pickens129720
Geneva12818
Marengo126724
Bibb125238
Barbour121429
Butler120042
Randolph107022
Cherokee106724
Hale101432
Fayette99916
Clay94825
Washington93921
Henry8996
Monroe84611
Lowndes82629
Cleburne80714
Macon77122
Crenshaw73330
Conecuh72914
Lamar7258
Bullock70919
Perry6987
Wilcox65518
Sumter59522
Greene44518
Choctaw43519
Coosa3824
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