White House counsel expected to exit: report

White House counsel expected to exit: report
© Getty

White House counsel Don McGahn is expected to exit the Trump administration in the upcoming months and could be replaced by Emmet Flood, the president's newest addition to his legal team, The Associated Press reported.

Flood was hired to Trump's legal team this week to replace outgoing lawyer Ty Cobb, who up until now has been Trump's point person for special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump orders more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions Trump: Democrats just want Mueller to testify for a 'do-over' Graham: Mueller investigation a 'political rectal exam' MORE's investigation into Russian meddling in the presidential election. 

Flood previously represented former President Clinton during his impeachment proceedings.

ADVERTISEMENT

Several White House sources told the AP, however, that McGahn's departure is not imminent and has been in the works for months.

The New York Times reported in January that McGahn threatened to resign last year when Trump ordered Mueller to be fired. The Times also said Trump considered firing McGahn if he didn’t deny the report he threatened to resign. It is not clear when McGahn decided to exit the White House.

McGahn, who is a witness in Mueller's ongoing investigation and therefore has not been involved in the White House response, has privately lobbied for Flood to be added to the team for months, the AP reported.

But joining the White House to replace McGahn would make Flood an official government employee, meaning Mueller's team could question him about the president in ways that would not be protected by attorney–client privilege.

The White House announced Wednesday that Cobb will retire at the end of May.

“Emmet Flood will be joining the White House staff to represent the president and the administration against the Russia witch hunt,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “Ty Cobb, a friend of the president, who has done a terrific job, will be retiring at the end of the month.”

As Trump's head lawyer in charge of responding to the Russia investigation, Cobb frequently advocated cooperation with Mueller's team as a means of speeding up the investigation.

The New York Times first reported Cobb's departure, who told the paper “it has been an honor to serve the country in this capacity at the White House. I wish everybody well moving forward.”