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 SessionsTrump says 'people will not stand' for Mueller report Jeff Sessions returns to Justice Department to retrieve Cabinet chair Rosenstein still working at DOJ despite plans to leave in mid-March 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 Jay RosensteinTrump says 'people will not stand' for Mueller report The Hill's Morning Report — Washington readies for Mueller end game Jeff Sessions returns to Justice Department to retrieve Cabinet chair 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 ComeyThe Hill's Morning Report — Washington readies for Mueller end game Comey: I'm not rooting for Mueller to demonstrate Trump is a criminal Trump's attacks on McCain exacerbate tensions with Senate GOP MORE through Rosenstein would eventually lead to the Justice Department's appointment of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe 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 TrumpSenate GOP budget ignores Trump, cuts defense Trump says he'll nominate Stephen Moore to Fed White House: ISIS territory in Syria has been 100 percent eliminated 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-White House ethics chief compares Ivanka, Kushner security clearances to college admissions scandal Cohen's charges make getting Trump's taxes even more important Ethics watchdogs sound alarm over Trump tweet on Scotland golf course 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.