White House counsel Don McGahn has left the Trump administration. His final day was Wednesday.
Who was Don McGahn?
McGahn was the general counsel for Trump's presidential campaign and his transition team, before joining the administration as White House counsel in January 2017.
McGahn was also a personal friend of newly confirmed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. He was the one who introduced Kavanaugh to President Donald Trump.
McGahn had also tried (albeit, unsuccessfully) on behalf of the president to convince Attorney General Jeff Sessions not to recuse himself from the investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
His departure is no surprise. In August, Trump had announced on Twitter that McGahn would leave "in the fall" after Kavanaugh was confirmed. He added, “I have worked with Don for a long time and truly appreciate his service!”
White House Counsel Don McGahn will be leaving his position in the fall, shortly after the confirmation (hopefully)… https://t.co/M3LEXMFTfx— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1535553035.0
The Washington Post reported that although other people in the White House knew that he planned to leave at some point, McGahn was "surprised" by this public announcement from Trump.
McGahn had also reportedly threatened to quit back in June 2017, when Trump ordered him to ask the Justice Department to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, according to the New York Times. Trump would later deny that this took place, tweeting that if he had wanted to fire Mueller, he would have followed through and fired him.
If I wanted to fire Robert Mueller in December, as reported by the Failing New York Times, I would have fired him.… https://t.co/wi7FDNjqK7— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1523527426.0
Who's taking his place?
McGahn's job will be filled by Pat Cipollone. Cipollone, a Washington lawyer, worked in the Justice Department under former President George H.W. Bush. Cipollone has also previously advised Trump regarding the Russia investigation.
Emmet Flood, who replaced Trump lawyer Ty Cobb in May, will continue to be the point of contact between Trump's legal team and Mueller's Russian investigation.
Trump's counsel Jay Sekulow praised the decision to hire Cipollone to fill McGahn's role.
"I have had the privilege to work with him and can attest to his skill, integrity and knowledge of the law," Sekulow said. "If selected by the President, he would make an outstanding White House counsel."