McConnell: McGahn's departure a 'big loss'

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

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellKey GOP senators appear cool to Kavanaugh accuser's demand Trump hints at new executive action on immigration, wants filibuster-proof Senate majority The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — The Hill interviews President Trump MORE (R-Ky.) expressed disappointment that the White House counsel will leave his post later this year, following President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rallies in Nevada amid Supreme Court flurry: 'We're gonna get Brett' Trump: 'Good news' that Obama is campaigning again Trump boosts Heller, hammers 'Wacky Jacky' opponent in Nevada 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 GrassleyFord lawyer proposes testifying next Thursday Yale Law School dean responds to reports that Kavanaugh hired women with 'certain look' Kavanaugh tells Senate panel: I want a hearing to 'clear my name' MORE (R-Iowa) said Trump "can't let" the White House counsel leave.

Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchDem vows to probe 'why the FBI stood down' on Kavanaugh Senate Democrats increase pressure for FBI investigation of Kavanaugh Grand Staircase-Escalante: A conservation triumph is headed for future as playground for industry 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 Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe 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.