President Donald Trump fired off a series of tweets Thursday morning ripping the coverage of White House counsel Don McGahn’s planned departure from the administration, aggressively pushing back against the idea that McGahn was a moderating force in the West Wing.
“I am very excited about the person who will be taking the place of Don McGahn as White House Councel! [sic],” Trump tweeted Thursday morning. “I liked Don, but he was NOT responsible for me not firing Bob Mueller or Jeff Sessions. So much Fake Reporting and Fake News!”
Earlier in the morning, Trump also denied reporting that White House advisers Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump were involved in nudging McGahn out.
“Ivanka Trump & Jared Kushner had NOTHING to do with the so called ‘pushing out’ of Don McGahn.The Fake News Media has it, purposely,so wrong!” Trump wrote online. “They love to portray chaos in the White House when they know that chaos doesn’t exist-just a ‘smooth running machine’ with changing parts!”
The president announced on Wednesday that McGahn would leave the administration this fall, following the anticipated confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. McGahn has cooperated extensively with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, sitting for 30 hours of interviews with Mueller’s team.
McGahn has also long had a tense relationship with Trump. POLITICO reported on Wednesday that their mutual frustrations have recently manifested in silence, rather than massive blow-ups. But the two have also had multiple heated clashesstemming from Trump’s view that McGahn hasn’t done enough to minimize the Russia investigation. Reports have also stated that McGahn has forcefully advised the president against trying to oust Mueller and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Trump has denied McGahn’s exit has anything to do with the Russia investigation, writing on Twitter on Thursday that the “Rigged Russia Witch Hunt did not come into play, even a little bit, with respect to my decision on Don McGahn!”
But according to The New York Times, Ivanka Trump complained to her father about a news report that members of the White House did not know the full extent of McGahn’s cooperation with Mueller’s probe.
Earlier this month, Trump wrote in a series of tweets that he had given McGahn the green light to be interviewed by Mueller’s team, saying, “I have nothing to hide.” And when asked by reporters on Wednesday whether he was concerned about what McGahn told Mueller, Trump replied, “No.”
Trump has not yet named a replacement for McGahn, but three people close to the president said White House lawyer Emmet Flood is expected to get the job.