McConnell: McGahn's departure a 'big loss'

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

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellEXCLUSIVE: Trump on reparations: 'I don't see it happening' Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids — Trump issues order to bring transparency to health care prices | Fight over billions in ObamaCare payments heads to Supreme Court Hillicon Valley: Senate bill would force companies to disclose value of user data | Waters to hold hearing on Facebook cryptocurrency | GOP divided on election security bills | US tracking Russian, Iranian social media campaigns MORE (R-Ky.) expressed disappointment that the White House counsel will leave his post later this year, following President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew EPA rule would expand Trump officials' powers to reject FOIA requests Democratic senator introduces bill to ban gun silencers Democrats: Ex-Commerce aide said Ross asked him to examine adding census citizenship question 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 GrassleyGrassley raises concerns about objectivity of report critical of GOP tax law's effects Overnight Health Care: Key Trump drug pricing proposal takes step forward | Missouri Planned Parenthood clinic loses bid for license | 2020 Democrats to take part in Saturday forum on abortion rights Key Trump proposal to lower drug prices takes step forward MORE (R-Iowa) said Trump "can't let" the White House counsel leave.

Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchTrump to award racing legend Roger Penske with Presidential Medal of Freedom Trump awards Presidential Medal of Freedom to economist, former Reagan adviser Arthur Laffer Second ex-Senate staffer charged in aiding doxxing of GOP senators 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) Swan MuellerKamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump Schiff says Intel panel will hold 'series' of hearings on Mueller report 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.