Trump: White House lawyer leaving in fall


Associated Press

WASHINGTON

White House Counsel Don McGahn, a consequential insider in President Donald Trump’s legal storms and successes and a key figure in the administration’s handling of the Russia investigation, will be leaving in the fall, the president announced Wednesday.

McGahn’s exit continues the churn of top officials as the administration sets records for turnover and the White House struggles to fill key vacancies.

Unlike some less-amiable separations, however, Trump praised McGahn as “a really good guy” who has done “an excellent job.”

Trump said McGahn’s departure had nothing to do with his interviews with the special counsel investigating possible Trump campaign collusion with Russia in the 2016 election.

Pressed by reporters, Trump said he had approved the attorney’s interviews and was unconcerned about anything McGahn might tell prosecutors.

“We do everything straight,” he said. “We do everything by the book.”

The departure of Trump’s top lawyer, which has been expected, will create a vacancy in one of the most critical – and yet least visible – positions within the West Wing. Besides dealing with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, McGahn has had important input on a range of issues from policy to personnel to national security.

He will remain at the White House until after the expected Senate confirmation vote for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Trump said in a tweet.

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.

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