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Home / US / White House lawyer Don McGahn quits after helping Trump redesign the federal courts: NPR

White House lawyer Don McGahn quits after helping Trump redesign the federal courts: NPR



Don McGahn left his position as Legal Adviser to the White House on Wednesday, a move announced in August.

Evan Vucci / AP


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Evan Vucci / AP

Don McGahn left his position as Legal Adviser to the White House on Wednesday, a move announced in August.

Evan Vucci / AP

White House lawyer Don McGahn left work on Wednesday. But his influence will last for years, thanks to the dozens of conservative judges McGahn has appointed President Trump to the Bundesbank.

The grueling confirmation from the Supreme Court judges, Brett Kavanaugh, meant an explosive end to McGahn's White House tenure. But he has also worked quietly over the last two years to shape the lower courts.

With a flurry of Senate acknowledgments on October 11, Trump has so far appointed 29 appellate judges and 52 district magistrates – along with Kavanaugh and his Supreme Court counterpart Neil Gorsuch – [19659008] McGahn oversaw the judicial selection process Presidents by selecting nominees who are consistently conservative – often proposed by the Federalist Society or the Heritage Foundation – and typically young – able to shape Federal Supreme Court decisions for decades to come.

McGahn's "Importance to Justice, the White House, and the Nation Can not Be Overstated," Republican Senate Chair Mitch McConnell, said Ky., In August [19659008] McConnell and his GOP senators paved the way for McGahn's courthouse by refusing to occupy the judiciary during the final years of the Obama administration. That left a large number of openings on the bench for Trump to fill as soon as he came into office – especially the seat of the Supreme Court released by the death of Judge Antonin Scalia.

When Scalia died in 2016, McGahn served as Trump's campaign lawyer. He suggested that the candidate publish a list of conservative judges from which Trump would elect Scalia's successor in an election.

This list would prove to be Trump's key selling point among social conservatives, who would otherwise have been skeptical of a three-time billionaire New York billionaire.

Not quite McGahn's court decisions sailed through the Senate. Some were overthrown by blazing statements made in the past. And Matthew Petersen was forced to withdraw his nomination after a humiliating question-and-no-response session with Senator John Kennedy, R-La, exposing Petersen's lack of basic legal knowledge.

But McGahn was more than ready to push the envelope. According to Time Magazine, he tried to choose judges who are "too hot for prime time … the kind of people that make some people nervous."

McGahn may have shaken his nerves in the White House at the New York Times, saying in August that he was "copious" with Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections and a possible vote with the Trump campaign worked together. Less than two weeks after the appearance of this story, Trump tweeted that McGahn would leave his post at the White House in the fall.

Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, told NPR that timing has nothing to do with McGahn's interviews with the special adviser's office. McGahn has previously beaten off a presidential move to dismiss Mueller, who reportedly threatened to stop if Trump insisted.

McGahn, previously a militant member of The Federal Election Commission, criticized early in the Trump administration for ill-designed executive orders. Trump's original ban on travel and a measure to punish so-called "sanctuary towns" were rejected by the federal courts, although a modified version of the travel ban was ultimately upheld by the Supreme Court.

Washington lawyer Pat Cipollone is replacing McGahn as White House advisor, Trump told the Associated Press on October 17.

McGahn returned to his lucrative career as a partner in the Jones Day law firm while also working for Trump's re-election campaign.

Maybe he also finds more time for music. McGahn previously served as lead guitarist and occasional keyboarder in Scott's New Band.


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