Third Party & Independents Archives

Why Does Grassley Hate to See McGahn Go?

Don McGahn looks like he stepped off the set of The Paper Chase, a film and TV series from the 70’s about Harvard Law students who have to deal with a rather splendidly arrogant law professor played brilliantly by John Houseman. The White House counsel and assistant to the President looks like one of those students after a few decades in law practice. The foppish but sometimes unruly hair. The good-natured but focused smile. He really seems like someone from another generation, even if he was a kid in primary school when the series started, never mind the earlier film on which it was based.

So, why is Don McGahn leaving the White House?

Alberto Gonzales, who's now teaching National Security law and First Amendment law as Dean of Belmont College's law school - he would know about those issues after his stint in Bush 43's administration - has commented that McGahn's departure could be due to his being interviewed by Mueller's team and his being perhaps forced to appear again, given his position as a government lawyer, as opposed to Trump's personal lawyers.

In other words, any slip up by McGahn between what he said in the 30 hours of interviews he actually gave, and what he might say in any theoretical second interview demanded by Mueller's team is seen as problematic.

Maybe, or maybe in a very high-pressure job McGahn sees an opening, after Kavanaugh is likely confirmed, to step away from an overheated White House and go back into what could be a very lucrative private practice. And yes, President Trump is a large part of that heated residence.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley got uncharacteristically ruffled when he heard the news and tweeted:

I hope it's not true McGahn is leaving White House Counsel. U can't let that happen.

That tweet will delight fondlers of conspiracy theories, but it does unsettle a little. Three possible interpretations of Grassley's tweet are:

  • President Trump needs a courteous but brave and steady hand to give him the legal advice he needs, not the advice he demands. In other words, without someone like McGahn, the President could easily be entrapped by Mueller's team into providing conflicting statements, setting up a report that Democrats will use to start impeachment proceedings.
  • McGahn knows key details that might be somehow incriminating to the President. If this is true, it would be more of a case of details pertaining to any possible obstruction of justice. Something related to Comey's firing, for example. And even there, there is no settled legal precedent for what Trump's opponents are accusing him of. But having someone like McGahn would help President Trump successfully work his way through any impeachment attempts.
  • President Trump, after initially approving McGahn's appearance before Mueller's prosecutors, got angry after learning how lengthy his counsel's testimony in fact had been, and fired him. Reported disagreements over whether Trump should pardon Manafort may have also played a part.

You could make the case that all three reasons are - to a lesser or greater extent - responsible for McGahn's leaving. But it seems that he will be sorely missed.

It seems impossible to not have any enemies within this administration if you work for this administration. But aside from the fact that this characterization of Trump's White House tends to come from mostly anonymous twice or thrice removed sources, McGahn appears to be an exception to that rule. He leaves a difficult job in a besieged administration with far less outright enemies than most. Or at least, they're more discrete about their hostility. That in itself is quite an accomplishment. But that's not the reason why Grassley is rhetorically clutching the counsel's lapels and begging him not to leave. It will be interesting to find out exactly why the Senate Judiciary Chairman got so dramatic.

Posted by AllardK at August 30, 2018 6:20 PM
Comment #430763

Yet another tough, yet stupid, week for Trump supporters.

Just how stupid was it? Let us count the ways. First, a right wing site said Hillary was hacked by the Chinese. The report was echoed by the stupidest Congressman in the House, Louis Gohmert. (Watch out, Louis! Yolo is right behind you!). The Daily Caller repeated this. FOX picked it up from the Daily Caller. And Trump picked it up from FOX. Limbaugh gave it a lot of air time that day.

“Report just out: “China hacked Hillary Clinton’s private Email Server.” Are they sure it wasn’t Russia (just kidding!)? What are the odds that the FBI and DOJ are right on top of this? Actually, a very big story. Much classified information!”
Donald Trump 8/28/18

The FBI said… Wait for it… Nope.

But wait! It gets even stupider!

Trump claimed his Lester Holt interview was ‘fudged.’

Uh… No. That was over a year ago. For those with long memories, Trump made the same kind of claim about the Access Hollywood video.

Oh my, rebutting stupid Trump lies could take all night. Long story short about McGahn- he was going to quit anyway, but Trump fired him without prior notice. 4/5 lawyers in the Office of Legal Counsel have already left. Why? Legal bills. Damage to future careers. Constantly being undermined by Trump. Having advice ignored by him. Not wanting to face a blizzard of investigations and subpoenas next year if the Democrats take the House.

Best story of the day? First poll by PPP for the FL Governor’s race. Socialist Gillum 48%, right wing nut DeSantis 43%.

Gosh. It looks like people really do want single-payer health care and to eliminate ICE. If that’s socialism, count me in.

Posted by: phx8 at August 30, 2018 10:14 PM
Comment #430793

On confiscating the passports of Hispanics born near the southern border:

“This is a classic historical trend— an increasingly authoritarian ruler repeatedly demonizes a minority group with false accusations, increases the illegal imprisonment and deportation of members of that minority group who don’t have proper documentation in an effort to get people accustomed to the idea that something about this minority group is inherently criminal, starts essentially just questioning those minorities’ rights to exist at all, and then everything goes back to normal in six months or so… that’s the sign that fascism is about to come to an end.”
The Onion

Posted by: phx8 at August 31, 2018 10:33 AM
Comment #430794

It gets worse for Trump and his supporters. Recently, Trump bragged about his 52% approval rating. Woo! Except Trump read that poll wrong. He had a 52% DISapproval rating. Womp womp.

And now a WaPo poll comes out showing an approval rating of just 38%. That’s bad. That’s really bad. To put it into perspective, in eight years, Obama never came in below 41%. And it just keeps getting worse. 49% want Trump impeached. That is really high, and it doesn’t even take into account the final findings from the Mueller investigation. Yikes! But if we have learned anything by now, it is that Trump always tells the truth, everything he said about Russia being a hoax is true, and that Trump is the victim of a rigged witch hunt.

Posted by: phx8 at August 31, 2018 11:50 AM
Comment #430799

The only poll that counts is the one done in November. Remember the results of the last one we had, phx8?

Posted by: Weary Willie at August 31, 2018 2:12 PM
Comment #430800

The national polls in 2016 were right. Hillary Clinton won by 2%, that is, about 3 million votes. And the Russians will have a hard time interfering this time without getting caught. But cheer up! Rasmussen shows Trump has a 111% approval rating because Trump just turned it up to 11.

Meanwhile, the Mueller investigation ahs resulted in yet another indictment: Sam Patten, for acting as a foreign agent without registering on behalf of Foreigner A and Foreigner B. He pled guilty to one felony. He is cooperating. Mueller referred this one to the DC DA. Ah, so many crooks and traitors, so little time.

Patten had a long friendship with Kilimnik, the Russian who has already been indicted for what he did with Manafort and Gates. What makes this especially interesting is that Patten also has ties to Cambridge Analytica.

Posted by: phx8 at August 31, 2018 2:42 PM
Comment #430801

Oh, and Patten illegally steered a $50,000 donation from a Ukrainian to the Trump inauguration.

So many criminals and traitors, it is getting hard to keep track of all the indictments and guilty pleas for committing felonies, and convictions, and plea bargains.

Posted by: phx8 at August 31, 2018 2:46 PM
Comment #430804

phx8, poll watchers are like bird watchers without the bird shit on their foreheads.

Posted by: Royal Flush at August 31, 2018 3:56 PM
Comment #430808

Whew! Sure am glad you guys don’t like polls. IBD- Investors Business Daily- a very pro-Trump organization- just came out with their poll. It shows Trump with an approval rating of 36%. Yikes!

Are Conservatives going to reject all the current economic numbers because they reflect favorably on Obama, too? Or is it all just a fraud? Hard to keep up with you guys. Alternative facts change almost daily. Truth isn’t truth. And as Trump told us, ‘don’t believe what you’re reading and what you’re seeing, because that’s not what’s happening.’ Well, it’s not easy being conservative. Sometimes poll numbers and economic numbers count. Sometimes not. Eurasia is an ally. We have always been at war with Eastasia.

Posted by: phx8 at August 31, 2018 9:42 PM
Comment #430974

“Two long running, Obama era, investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen were brought to a well publicized charge, just ahead of the Mid-Terms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department. Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff……”
Donald Trump, 9/3/18

That is simply incredible. It is a gross violation of everything a president is supposed to represent. And is it any wonder the first bill that was going to be passed by the GOP was one doing away with the Ethics Committee. It was pulled when virtually the entire country objected.

Look at us now. The president is objecting, NOT to gross corruption on the parts of two House members, but to charging them, because they are ‘popular’ and their political prospects in the midterms are more important to Trump and his party than the rule of law, & selling out the country.

It just keeps getting worse.

Posted by: phx8 at September 3, 2018 9:51 PM
Comment #430985

Trump’s just pissed that it will take 3 years to determine they were innocent all along.

That’s the track record of how Republicans are treated by the establishment. Railroad them out of office and find out later they have the charges thrown out or overturned.

Remember, these two were the first to come out in support of Trump. This is their comeuppance.

Posted by: Weary Willie at September 4, 2018 7:17 AM
Comment #430994

Sessions is a big mystery. He can’t survive unless he changes his modus operandi somewhat. He has to take care of his publics perception or it will take care of him.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at September 4, 2018 9:59 AM
Comment #431004

Wow…Rahm Emanuel announced he will not seek reelection as mayor of Chicago. What a great opening for Baaaraack Obama to run, win, and fix crime in the “Windy City”. While he is at it, he can wave his magic wand and fix their financial mess as well.

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 4, 2018 6:48 PM
Comment #431005

He won’t have term limits so he can’t claim success without someone else stepping in and enjoying the fruits of his labor.

Can you imagine Chicago in doldrums, the inherited mess. He will be working hard to clean it up, spending on shovel ready programs that have been monkeyed up with red tape? Coasting along…

He will step in and claim he’s already saved millions of people from being shot. But, someone will have to give him his participation trophy first, otherwise…

Posted by: Weary Willie at September 4, 2018 7:11 PM
Comment #431006

It won’t matter if he’s from Kenya.

Posted by: Weary Willie at September 4, 2018 7:14 PM
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