Don McGahn: Donald Trump says White House counsel to depart

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that Don McGahn will leave his job as White House counsel this fall following Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation.

However, Mr McGahn is said to have not discussed this plan with Mr Trump and was surprised by the president's tweet.

White House counsel Don McGahn is out of the administration per, as has become a not-unusual way of breaking the news, presidential tweet.

McGahn and many high-level White House officials were caught off guard by Trump's tweet, which followed a report by Axios earlier in the day that McGahn was preparing to leave.

And the context is this: We learned 11 days ago that McGahn had sat for interviews with special counsel Robert Mueller's team for more than 30 hours in the course of the investigation into Russian Federation interference in the 2016 election. Mueller's team is looking into whether Trump obstructed justice in trying to end the investigation.

The source said Trump asked McGahn to raise what he said were Mueller's conflicts with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein because the president thought they were serious enough to remove Mueller. McGahn, who has met with investigators on at least three occasions for many hours at a time, threatened to resign previous year if Trump continued to press for Mueller's removal.

Meanwhile, McGahn has been the leader when it comes to Trump's chief achievement in the Oval Office: the appointment of originalist judges to the federal bench.

Minutes after Grassley's warning, however, the president fired off another tweet, again referring to Mueller's probe as a "witch hunt". Sources familiar with his cooperation told ABC News that McGahn has been questioned by the special counsel's team more extensively than any other member of the White House staff who has been interviewed.

His departure marks the latest of the handful of top aides who worked on the Trump campaign before joining the White House.

Sessions, a former Republican senator from Alabama, responded with a rare public statement, saying that he and his department "will not be improperly influenced by political considerations".

  • Rogelio Becker