Top Judiciary Dem: White House counsel must be removed immediately

Top Judiciary Dem: White House counsel must be removed immediately
© Keren Carrion

The ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee said Thursday that White House Counsel Don McGahn should be removed immediately if a report in The New York Times revealing his attempt to stop Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump retreats on census citizenship question Alabama senator says Trump opposed to Sessions Senate bid Judiciary issues blitz of subpoenas for Kushner, Sessions, Trump associates MORE's recusal is true.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) called on McGahn to step down over the story, which Nadler called "completely unacceptable" conduct.

“Mr. McGahn’s reported conduct is completely unacceptable. The role of the Attorney General is to uphold the law — including the rules prohibiting Department of Justice officials from participating in cases in which they have a conflict of interest," Nadler said in a statement late Thursday.

"Either Mr. McGahn knows this, and decided to interfere with the Russia investigation anyway, or he doesn’t," Nadler added. "Neither case is acceptable and he should be removed from his post immediately."

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Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation last year, passing the duties of overseeing the investigation to Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump retreats on census citizenship question Judiciary issues blitz of subpoenas for Kushner, Sessions, Trump associates House Judiciary to vote to authorize subpoenas for Trump officials, immigration documents MORE. Trump, according to the story, was infuriated, as he believed his top law enforcement official would protect him.

"Where's my Roy Cohn?" Trump reportedly asked his top advisers. "Roy Cohn" refers to Trump's former lawyer and fixer by the same name who once served under Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-Wis.).

Trump's decision to fire FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyHannity invites Ocasio-Cortez to join prime-time show for full hour The Hill's 12:30 Report: Acosta under fire over Epstein plea deal White House repeatedly blocks ex-aide from answering Judiciary panel questions MORE through Rosenstein would eventually lead to the Justice Department's appointment of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTop Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE to take over the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

“Mr. McGahn’s actions under Mr. Trump’s orders in either case would appear to be yet another incident pointing to an overall effort to obstruct and undermine the Department of Justice. It is not the duty of the White House Counsel to be the President's Roy Cohn, as Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpCNN's Camerota clashes with Trump's immigration head over president's tweet LA Times editorial board labels Trump 'Bigot-in-Chief' Trump complains of 'fake polls' after surveys show him trailing multiple Democratic candidates MORE would have it, but to protect and defend the Constitution — which Mr. McGahn seems to be failing to do," Nadler said.

McGahn's work to convince Sessions also earned him criticism from former Office of Government Ethics chief Walter ShaubWalter Michael ShaubEx-ethics chief rips Trump July 4 event as 'taxpayer-funded campaign ad' Here are the top paid White House staffers The Hill's Morning Report - Trump touts handshake with Kim, tariff freeze with Xi MORE, who tweeted his disapproval of McGahn Thursday evening.

"This story infuriates me. I am outraged by McGahn undermining the rule of law in the country I love. While McGahn was demanding Sessions' (sic) break the law, I was on the other line with DOJ demanding Sessions recuse. What I think of your attack on America, McGahn, isn’t fit to print," Shaub tweeted.