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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 McConnellBipartisanship has become a partisan weapon Washington showing signs of normalcy after year of restrictions Former OMB pick Neera Tanden to serve as senior adviser to Biden MORE (R-Ky.) expressed disappointment that the White House counsel will leave his post later this year, following President TrumpDonald TrumpFranklin Graham says Trump comeback would 'be a very tough thing to do' Man suspected in wife's disappearance accused of casting her ballot for Trump Stefanik: Cheney is 'looking backwards' 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 GrassleyChuck GrassleyLawmakers bicker over how to go after tax cheats On The Money: Biden says workers can't turn down job and get benefits | Treasury launches state and local aid | Businesses jump into vax push Grassley criticizes Biden's proposal to provide IRS with B MORE (R-Iowa) said Trump "can't let" the White House counsel leave.

Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchFinancial market transactions should not be taxed or restricted Bottom line The Republicans' deep dive into nativism 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) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel 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.