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Top Judiciary Dem: White House counsel must be removed immediately

Top Judiciary Dem: White House counsel must be removed immediately
© Keren Carrion

The ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee said Thursday that White House Counsel Don McGahn should be removed immediately if a report in The New York Times revealing his attempt to stop Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsMcCabe to sue Trump admin for defamation, wrongful termination Trump pressed Sessions to fire FBI agents who sent anti-Trump texts: report The Hill's Morning Report: Inside the Comey memos MORE's recusal is true.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) called on McGahn to step down over the story, which Nadler called "completely unacceptable" conduct.

“Mr. McGahn’s reported conduct is completely unacceptable. The role of the Attorney General is to uphold the law — including the rules prohibiting Department of Justice officials from participating in cases in which they have a conflict of interest," Nadler said in a statement late Thursday.

"Either Mr. McGahn knows this, and decided to interfere with the Russia investigation anyway, or he doesn’t," Nadler added. "Neither case is acceptable and he should be removed from his post immediately."

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Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation last year, passing the duties of overseeing the investigation to Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinRepublicans divided over legislation protecting Mueller The Hill's Morning Report: Inside the Comey memos Memos document Comey's interactions with Trump MORE. Trump, according to the story, was infuriated, as he believed his top law enforcement official would protect him.

"Where's my Roy Cohn?" Trump reportedly asked his top advisers. "Roy Cohn" refers to Trump's former lawyer and fixer by the same name who once served under Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-Wis.).

Trump's decision to fire FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyIG investigating Comey memos over classified information: report The Hill's 12:30 Report Memos don't prove 'obstruction' — they further cement Comey's legacy as a leaker MORE through Rosenstein would eventually lead to the Justice Department's appointment of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE to take over the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

“Mr. McGahn’s actions under Mr. Trump’s orders in either case would appear to be yet another incident pointing to an overall effort to obstruct and undermine the Department of Justice. It is not the duty of the White House Counsel to be the President's Roy Cohn, as Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpIG investigating Comey memos over classified information: report Overnight Defense: Congress poised for busy week on nominations, defense bill | Trump to deliver Naval Academy commencement speech | Trump administration appeals decision to block suspected combatant's transfer Top Pruitt aid requested backdate to resignation letter: report MORE would have it, but to protect and defend the Constitution — which Mr. McGahn seems to be failing to do," Nadler said.

McGahn's work to convince Sessions also earned him criticism from former Office of Government Ethics chief Walter ShaubWalter Michael ShaubOvernight Energy: Ethics office scolds Pruitt | Some Republicans rally round EPA chief | Perry might not issue grid emergency order | Apple hits renewable energy milestone Top ethics official asks EPA to ‘appropriately address’ Pruitt controversies EPA ethics official didn’t have some facts in evaluating Pruitt’s lease MORE, who tweeted his disapproval of McGahn Thursday evening.

"This story infuriates me. I am outraged by McGahn undermining the rule of law in the country I love. While McGahn was demanding Sessions' (sic) break the law, I was on the other line with DOJ demanding Sessions recuse. What I think of your attack on America, McGahn, isn’t fit to print," Shaub tweeted.