President Trump went on Twitter on Thursday to deny news reports that his daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner played a role in the announced departure of White House counsel Donald McGahn.
Trump announced Wednesday that McGahn, a low-key, 50-year-old lawyer who has been at his side since the early days of the 2016 presidential campaign, would leave his post at the White House in the fall.
“Ivanka Trump & Jared Kushner had NOTHING to do with the so called ‘pushing out’ of Don McGahn,” Trump wrote on Twitter on Thursday morning. “The Fake News Media has it, purposely, so wrong! 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!”
Multiple news organizations reported Wednesday that there had been friction between McGahn and the president’s daughter and son-in-law, both of whom are advisers at the White House, which has experienced unusually high turnover under Trump.
The Post reported that their relationships with McGahn had frayed over time, according to Trump associates. One Trump aide described McGahn as someone who “had to tell them ‘no’ on some issues” and never clicked with them personally. Kushner and Ivanka Trump, along with the president, have regularly chafed at McGahn’s counsel and caution, the associates said.
In a separate tweet, Trump said he was “very excited” about the person who will take McGahn’s place, whom he did not name. It was not clear from Trump’s tweet whether he has settled on a replacement.
White House attorney Emmet T. Flood, a veteran Washington lawyer whom McGahn recruited to join the West Wing in May, is seen by most Trump aides as a likely replacement because of his rapport with the president and his knowledge of impeachment proceedings. Flood represented Bill Clinton and has begun to prepare for a potential Democratic move against Trump, should that party win control of the House this fall.
Trump also said that McGahn was “NOT responsible” for his decisions not to fire special counsel Robert S. Mueller III or Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
“So much Fake Reporting and Fake News!” the president said.
When Trump sought the firing of Mueller in June 2017, McGahn threatened to resign over the proposed move, according to two people familiar with the exchange, The Post has reported. McGahn’s warning to the president was first reported by the New York Times and denied by Trump.
Trump has contemplated firing Sessions as recently as this month, The Post reported earlier this week. His attorneys concluded that they have persuaded him — for now — not to make such a move while the special counsel investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign is ongoing, according to three people familiar with the discussions.
Trump also said in another tweet that Mueller’s investigation did not factor into McGahn’s departure. McGahn has participated in multiple interviews with Mueller’s team.
“The Rigged Russia Witch Hunt did not come into play, even a little bit, with respect to my decision on Don McGahn!” Trump wrote on Twitter.
Earlier Thursday morning, Trump took several other shots at the media, renewing his description of much of it as “the enemy of the people.”
Robert Costa, Robert Barnes and Rosalind S. Helderman contributed to this report.