On Friday, Politico reported that President Donald Trump's re-election campaign is cutting ties with Jones Day, the law firm that worked with Trump during the 2016 election. Instead, the campaign will hire former Republican National Committee lawyer David Groth to provide in-house counsel.
The campaign has characterized this as a cost-cutting measure, but behind the scenes, it appears to be an attempt to punish former White House Counsel Don McGahn, who is a partner at Jones Day.
"Why in the world would you want to put your enemy on the payroll?" one White House adviser told Politico. "They do not want to reward his firm. Trump arrived at that point long ago."
Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale, however, completely disputes the report, calling it "fake news" and demanding that Politico retract it.
Trump owes some key accomplishments to McGahn, chiefly the confirmation of a slew of new far-right judges to the federal court system. But McGahn's relationship with the president and his family has reportedly deteriorated.
For one thing, McGahn drew headlines last year after it came out that he had forced Trump to back off from firing special counsel Robert Mueller by threatening to resign himself — an incident that was further detailed by Mueller's report.
For another, after The New York Times reported that McGahn drafted a memo disapproving of Trump's order to overrule intelligence officials and give his son-in-law Jared Kushner a security clearance, Trump suspected McGahn had leaked the story to the press in the first place.