Soon to be former White House Counsel Don McGahn wasn’t interested in staying much longer, but his boss gave him a quick shove out the door with a single tweet. While he has claimed to know the replacement, Axios reported Sunday that President Donald Trump is bluffing.
“I am very excited about the person who will be taking the place of Don McGahn as White House Councel [sic]!” the president tweeted after the McGahn announcement.
I am very excited about the person who will be taking the place of Don McGahn as White House Councel! I liked Don, but he was NOT responsible for me not firing Bob Mueller or Jeff Sessions. So much Fake Reporting and Fake News!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 30, 2018
According to two sources obtained by Axios, one of the new names on the list is Fannie Mae general counsel Brian Brooks.
He’s one of several the president is thinking might fall under his requirement of being “unquestionably loyal” and “his guy” to defend the president on cable news. Currently, McGahn doesn’t do either. Instead, he has spent his term in the White House trying to stop the president from doing something that would cause greater problems.
Axios described it as one of the biggest decisions that Trump can make as Mueller’s final report looms on the horizon and the possibility of impeachment may follow closely behind.
Emmet Flood was considered to be the man for the job, but Axios reported Trump is looking at Brooks, recommended by Sec. Steve Mnuchin. Brooks may be a high-powered lawyer in the Beltway, but he stays out of the public eye. If Flood isn’t the one, however, he might take it personally and some say they can’t survive if Flood leaves.
“If they lose [Flood] they are f*cked. Because they are never going to find a decent white-collar type to fill Emmet’s shoes,” said one senior Washington attorney.
The White House Counsel’s office is “down to bare bones,” Axios said, with nearly all of McGahn’s deputies jumping overboard. The president is meanwhile looking at Brooks and Flood, but he’s open to other names too.
Another possibility is Matt Whitaker, a former U.S. Attorney and the current chief of staff for Jeff Sessions. Despite Trump’s war with the attorney general, Whitaker has managed to maintain a positive relationship, Axios reported.