White House Counsel Don McGahn plans to leave as soon as Trump finds someone to replace him.
Already plagued by out-of-control turnover, Trump could soon lose another major administration official instrumental in steering policy and legal matters: White House Counsel Don McGahn.
According to a new report in Politico, four sources confirm McGahn “is expected to step down later this year, though his resignation is contingent on the president finding a replacement and several other factors.”
Trump, according to the report, does not want him to go, but McGahn is anxious to return to his private law practice. He is not planning to abandon Trump completely, and will possibly return to “a role he had during the 2016 campaign by handling legal matters for Trump’s reelection,” but no longer wants to work in the administration.
The news follows a series of controversies and shake-ups surrounding attorneys in every aspect of Trump’s circle.
This week, the team of attorneys defending Trump against special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation saw major staffing changes. John Dowd resigned as head of the defense team, reportedly because Trump ignored his advice to avoid an interview with Mueller. Soon after, Trump added Benghazi-obsessed Fox News commentator Joe DiGenova to the payroll.
Meanwhile, ethical questions continue to circle about the conduct of Trump’s private attorney Michael Cohen, who allegedly paid hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels to keep Trump’s extramarital affair secret.
Inside the White House, tensions between Trump and McGahn have existed for a while. Last year, Trump ordered McGahn to fire Mueller, and only relented because McGahn said he would resign rather than carry out that order.
But McGahn has been a central architect of Trump’s policy agenda. He has done everything from advise Trump on how to erase President Obama’s regulations on health care and energy, to help Trump nominate a long string of far-right federal judges. His exit could leave the White House virtually rudderless on these matters.
All that is constant is Trump’s penchant for chaos.