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McConnell: McGahn's departure a 'big loss'

McConnell: McGahn's departure a 'big loss'
© Anna Moneymaker

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden backs 0B compromise coronavirus stimulus bill US records over 14 million coronavirus cases On The Money: COVID-19 relief picks up steam as McConnell, Pelosi hold talks | Slowing job growth raises fears of double-dip recession | Biden officially announces Brian Deese as top economic adviser MORE (R-Ky.) expressed disappointment that the White House counsel will leave his post later this year, following President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Biden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country Biden says family will avoid business conflicts MORE's Wednesday tweet announcing the departure.

“If the reporting is true about Don McGahn’s time at the White House coming to an end later this year, it will be sad news for our country,” McConnell said in a statement.

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“Don is the most impressive White House Counsel during my time in Washington, and I’ve known them all. His departure from the White House, whenever that may be, would be a big loss for the Trump Administration and the country," the Kentucky Republican added.

“Don’s significance to the judiciary, the White House and the nation cannot be overstated, and I look forward to his continued efforts on behalf of our country."

Trump announced in a tweet Wednesday morning that McGahn will depart the White House after Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation.

McConnell joined other Republican senators who lamented McGahn's departure.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Dem leaders back smaller COVID-19 relief bill as pandemic escalates Republican senators urge Trump to dodge pardon controversies Grassley suggests moderate Democrats for next Agriculture secretary MORE (R-Iowa) said Trump "can't let" the White House counsel leave.

Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchMellman: What happened after Ginsburg? Bottom line Bottom line MORE (R-Utah) praised McGahn's work, saying "few have played a more critical role ... in shaping the federal bench with individuals who understand the proper role of a judge under the Constitution."

McGahn has played a leading role in the White House's efforts to shape the judiciary. He is also tasked with advising the president and other White House staff on legal issues that pertain to the government.

Trump announced McGahn's planned exit less than two weeks after The New York Times reported that the White House counsel had cooperated extensively with special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerBarr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting MORE as part of his investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election, including on the line of inquiry as to whether Trump obstructed justice. 

Trump later claimed to have allowed McGahn and other members of the White House staff to “fully cooperate” with Mueller, whose investigation the president has regularly decried as a "witch hunt" and a "hoax."

McGahn reportedly threatened to quit earlier in his White House tenure after Trump raised the possibility of firing Mueller.