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 SessionsAlabama postpones March 31 GOP Senate runoff Biden has broken all the 'rules' of presidential primaries The Hill's Campaign Report: Defiant Sanders vows to stay in race 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 RosensteinFull appeals court to rehear case over McGahn subpoena Graham starts closed-door depositions in FISA probe Attorney General Barr is in a mess — and has no one to blame but himself 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 ComeyIs coronavirus the final Trump crisis? Full appeals court to rehear case over McGahn subpoena Tucker Carlson: Biden's 'fading intellect' an 'opportunity' for Democrats to control him MORE through Rosenstein would eventually lead to the Justice Department's appointment of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout 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 TrumpWith VP pick, Biden can't play small ball in a long ball world Coronavirus hits defense contractor jobs Wake up America, your country doesn't value your life 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 Shaub'Nero' trends after meme Trump retweeted of himself playing violin is likened to Nero fiddling as Rome burns Ocasio-Cortez blasts Trump as 'corrupt' for blocking Global Entry for New Yorkers Ex-White House ethics chief rips reversal on Stone sentencing 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.