McConnell: McGahn's departure a 'big loss'

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

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocrats worry a speedy impeachment trial will shut out public George Conway group drops ad seeking to remind GOP senators of their 'sworn oaths' ahead of impeachment trial GOP senator 'open' to impeachment witnesses 'within the scope' of articles MORE (R-Ky.) expressed disappointment that the White House counsel will leave his post later this year, following President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rails against impeachment in speech to Texas farmers Trump administration planning to crack down on 'birth tourism': report George Conway on Trump adding Dershowitz, Starr to legal team: 'Hard to see how either could help' 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 GrassleyTrump administration planning to crack down on 'birth tourism': report Senate begins preparations for Trump trial Big Pharma looks to stem losses after trade deal defeat MORE (R-Iowa) said Trump "can't let" the White House counsel leave.

Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchKey Republicans say Biden can break Washington gridlock Trump awards Medal of Freedom to racing industry icon Roger Penske Trump holds more Medal of Freedom ceremonies than predecessors but awards fewer medals 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 MuellerSchiff: Trump acquittal in Senate trial would not signal a 'failure' Jeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay 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.