- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 29, 2018

President Trump announced Wednesday legal counsel Don McGahn is leaving his job at the White House after the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings.

The news comes just two weeks after reports surfaced that Mr. McGahn met with special counsel Robert Mueller for about 30 hours in relation to the Russia investigation.

Mr. Trump stood by the White House lawyer amid rampant speculation about whether Mr. McGahn flipped on the president.

Though Mr. McGahn appears to be leaving the White House on good terms, Sen. Charles E. Grassley, Iowa Republican, warned that his departure will be a mistake.

George Hartmann, press secretary for Mr. Grassley, said the senator considered Mr. McGahn “integral” to confirming the president’s judicial picks.

“From Senator Grassley’s perspective, there’s not been any White House counsel who has worked so well and so efficiently with the chairman’s office and the Senate Judiciary Committee on judges,” Mr. Hartmann told The Washington Times.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, asked whether veteran Washington lawyer Emmet Flood would replace Mr. McGahn as White House counsel, told reporters Wednesday, “People like him. He’s super well-respected around the [White House] building, but there’s not a plan locked in place at this point.”

Mr. Flood has been working in the White House counsel’s office since May, representing the president in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. He has represented several top officials in previous administrations, including former President George W. Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney.

He also represented President Bill Clinton during impeachment proceedings.

Attorney John Dowd, who resigned in March as the president’s lead counsel in the Mueller probe, said Mr. McGahn “has been an outstanding White House counsel and served the president and his country with integrity, courage and brilliance.”

“I foresee no change in the White House’s approach to the special counsel investigation,” Mr. Dowd told The Washington Times. “Emmet Flood is doing a superb job.”

Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, appeared to be caught off guard by the timing of the president’s announcement.

“If the reporting is true about Don McGahn’s time at the White House coming to an end later this year, it will be sad news for our country,” Mr. McConnell said in a statement.

He called Mr. McGahn “the most impressive White House counsel during my time in Washington, and I’ve known them all. His departure from the White House, whenever that may be, would be a big loss for the Trump administration and the country.”

Don’s significance to the judiciary, the White House and the nation cannot be overstated, and I look forward to his continued efforts on behalf of our country,” Mr. McConnell said.

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