Trump: White House counsel Don McGahn to depart in the fall

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump announced today his White House counsel, Don McGahn, will be departing in the fall after the expected Senate confirmation vote for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

That will create a vacancy in an office that has been at a center of conflict over the special counsel's Trump-Russia investigation.

Unlike some less-amiable administration separations, Trump praised his top White House lawyer on Twitter, saying that he had "worked with Don for a long time and truly appreciate his service!" McGahn's departure had been expected as the White House enters the fall elections and looks to win confirmation for Kavanaugh, the president's second opportunity to place his imprint on the Supreme Court.

McGahn, a top election lawyer who served as general counsel on Trump's campaign, has played a pivotal role in the president's remaking of the federal judiciary with young, conservative judges.

He also helped guide Trump's selection of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch and the president's nomination of Kavanaugh and helped oversee a dramatic rollback of Obama era regulations.

The White House counsel is among the most critical – and yet least visible – positions within the West Wing, with input on a range of issues from policy to personnel to national security.

But McGahn's time has also been marked by tumult as the main point of contact inside the White House for the Russia investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller. McGahn, who has consented to interviews with Mueller's team, threatened to resign last year if Trump continued to press for Mueller's removal.

Trump's announcement comes more than a week after a New York Times report McGahn had been cooperating extensively with Mueller's investigation into Russian election meddling and possible collusion with Trump's Republican campaign.

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