Don McGahn
Donald Francis McGahn II (born June 16, 1968) is an American lawyer and political figure. He is the current White House Counsel and Assistant to the President

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Don McGahn White House Counsel Incumbent Assumed office
January 20, 2017President Donald TrumpPreceded by Neil EgglestonChairman of the Federal Election Commission In office
July 10, 2008 – December 31, 2008President George W. BushSucceeded by Steven T. WaltherMember of the Federal Election Commission In office
July 9, 2008 – September 12, 2013President George W. Bush
Barack ObamaPreceded by David MasonSucceeded by Lee E. Goodman Personal detailsBorn Donald Francis McGahn II
(1968-06-16) June 16, 1968 (age 50)
Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.Political party RepublicanSpouse(s) Shannon McGahnChildren 2Education University of Notre Dame (BA)
Widener University (JD)
Georgetown University (LLM)Signature

Donald Francis McGahn II (born June 16, 1968) is an American lawyer and political figure. He is the current White House Counsel and Assistant to the President for U.S. President Donald Trump, serving since January 20, 2017, and was formerly a Commissioner of the United States Federal Election Commission (FEC).

Contents Early life and education

McGahn grew up in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the son of Noreen (Rogan) and Donald F. McGahn,[1] and attended Our Lady Star of the Sea School in Atlantic City and Holy Spirit High School in nearby Absecon.[2] He briefly attended the United States Naval Academy before transferring to the University of Notre Dame.[3] At the University of Notre Dame he received a B.A. degree in history and computer applications.[4] He obtained his J.D. degree from Widener University School of Law in 1994 followed by an LL.M. degree from the Georgetown University Law Center in 2002.[5]


After graduation from law school, McGahn worked in campaign finance law at the Washington, D.C. office of law firm Patton Boggs.[6] From 1999 to 2008, McGahn was chief counsel for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).[7]

George W. Bush nominated McGahn as a Republican-selected member of the Federal Election Commission in 2008. He was confirmed on June 24, 2008 by the United States Senate and was sworn in shortly thereafter. He is credited as having played a crucial role in loosening regulations on campaign spending.[8][9] As presented with documentary footage in the 2018 film Dark Money, McGahn's brief period as incoming chair of the Commission ushered in a newly partisan rigor to the FEC whereby he and his two fellow Republican members, also new, formed an unprecedented lockstep voting block preventing any and all enforcement of FEC regulations. McGahn resigned from the FEC in September 2013.[10]

After leaving the FEC, McGahn returned to the law firm Patton Boggs.[7] In 2014 he moved to the law firm of Jones Day in Washington, D.C.[8] He also worked for the Koch affiliated Freedom Partners.[11]

Trump 2016 campaign

McGahn served as Donald Trump's campaign counsel during his 2016 campaign for president.[7] McGahn managed all litigation involving Donald Trump's 2016 Presidential campaign. Early in 2016, he stopped efforts to keep Trump off of the Republican primary ballot in New Hampshire by going to court and winning to ensure ballot access in a key primary state.[12] McGahn also assembled and oversaw the legal team that helped defeat the NeverTrump movement at the 2016 Republican National Convention, both in the RNC Rules Committee and on the convention floor.[13] Several weeks before the election, lawsuits were filed in four battleground states alleging voter intimidation and seeking to enjoin the Trump campaign from having observers at polling locations.[14] McGahn successfully managed and won these litigations.[15]

Trump presidency

Shortly after Trump won the election, he named McGahn General Counsel of the Presidential Transition Team. On November 25, 2016, McGahn was named White House Counsel for the President-elect's new administration.[16][17]

McGahn personally recommended Trump nominate Neil Gorsuch to replace Antonin Scalia and Brett Kavanaugh to replace Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. Gorsuch's first official interview with Trump staff was on January 5, 2017 when McGahn met with him in Trump Tower. Trump and McGahn met with him on January 14, 2017. McGahn called Gorsuch on January 27, 2017 to tell him that he had been selected as the nominee.[18] Gorsuch was sworn in on Monday April 10, 2017.[19] McGahn also recommended the nomination of Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta. Acosta was sworn in on April 28, 2017.[20]

McGahn assembled a team of lawyers to oversee filling all judicial vacancies. Guided by McGahn's team, President Trump had already appointed ten appellate judges by November 11, 2017, the most that early in a presidency since Richard Nixon.[21]

According to The New York Times, McGahn conveyed instructions from President Trump to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, requesting Sessions not to recuse himself from overseeing investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election.[22] McGahn was unaware that Sessions had already consulted with career attorneys at the Department of Justice. When Sessions informed him he had already decided to recuse himself, McGahn ceased further discussion of the topic.[23] In response to this, Walter Shaub, former director of the United States Office of Government Ethics, said McGahn had "done much to undermine anticorruption mechanisms in this country." Shaub said, "It is a crime for a federal employee to participate in a particular matter in which he has a financial interest."[24]

In January 2018 The New York Times reported that in June 2017, the president asked McGahn to instruct top Justice Department officials to dismiss special counsel Robert Mueller, and that McGahn refused, instead threatening to resign.[25][26]

The New York Times reported on August 18, 2018 that McGahn had been cooperating extensively with the Special Counsel investigation for several months and that he and his lawyer had become concerned that Trump "had decided to let Mr. McGahn take the fall for decisions that could be construed as obstruction of justice, like the Comey firing (though as Alan Dershowitz observes, a president cannot obstruct justice by firing the head of a government agency[27]) by telling the special counsel that he was only following shoddy legal advice from Mr. McGahn.".[28]

On August 29, 2018, President Trump announced "McGahn will be leaving his position in the fall, shortly after the confirmation (hopefully) of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court. I have worked with Don for a long time and truly appreciate his service!"[29][30]

Personal life

McGahn is married to Shannon McGahn, former Counselor to Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin.[31][32] They have two sons.[7]

  1. ^ "Jean Quinn Rogan Obituary", Citizens' Voice via, May 19, 2014.
  2. ^ DeRosier, John. "Atlantic City native embroiled in Trump/Flynn controversy ", The Press of Atlantic City, May 17, 2017. Accessed November 15, 2017. "McGahn, a longtime Republican campaign lawyer and former commissioner at the Federal Election Commission, grew up in Atlantic City, attending Our Lady Star of the Sea school and Holy Spirit High School, where he played football."
  3. ^ "White House Counsel, Don McGahn, Has Cooperated Extensively in Mueller Inquiry". The New York cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output q{quotes:"\"""\"""'""'"}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-free a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
  4. ^ "Donald F. McGahn -". Retrieved 2018-08-20.
  5. ^ "Georgetown Law Alumni in the News March 2017". Retrieved February 8, 2018.
  6. ^ Mullins, Brody; Jacoby, Mary (October 29, 2008). "FEC Chairman McGahn Marches to His Own Tune". Wall Street Journal.
  7. ^ a b c d Levine, Carrie (May 9, 2016). "Two very different Donalds, one White House goal". Center for Public Integrity.
  8. ^ a b Terris, Ben (April 11, 2016). "Trump's own Beltway establishment guy: The curious journey of Don McGahn". The Washington Post.
  9. ^ Roth, Zachary (March 23, 2016). "Trump's top lawyer helped open political spending floodgates". MSNBC.
  10. ^ Wilson, Reid (September 17, 2013). "Former FEC chairman Donald McGahn resigns from panel". The Washington Post.
  11. ^ "The Danger of President Pence".
  12. ^ Lichtblau, Eric (December 16, 2016). "In Donald McGahn, Donald Trump Gets a Combative White House Counsel". The New York Times.
  13. ^ Detrow, Scott (July 15, 2016). "'Never Trump Is Nevermore': Anti-Trump Forces Fail To Force RNC Floor Fight". NPR.
  14. ^ Allegri, Carlo (October 21, 2016). "Trump Sued in 4 States for Voter Intimidation". Newsweek.
  15. ^ de Vogue, Ariane (August 7, 2016). "Supreme Court won't restore court order against Trump over poll-watching in Ohio". CNN.
  16. ^ Bender, Michael C.; Palazzolo, Joe (November 26, 2016). "Donald Trump Selects Donald McGahn as White House Counsel". Wall Street Journal.
  17. ^ Cook, Nancy (February 21, 2017). "He's Going to Be an Enabler". Politico.
  18. ^ Kim, Seung Min (February 26, 2017). "Gorsuch questionnaire reveals selection process details for SCOTUS nominee". Politico.
  19. ^ Barnes, Robert; Parker, Ashley (April 10, 2017). "Neil M. Gorsuch sworn in as 113th Supreme Court justice". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
  20. ^ Cook, Nancy (May 6, 2017). "Trump's top lawyer faces a giant cleanup job". Politico.
  21. ^ Savage, Charlie (November 11, 2017). "Trump Is Rapidly Reshaping the Judiciary. Here's How". The New York Times.
  22. ^ Schmidt, Michael S. (January 4, 2018). "Obstruction Inquiry Shows Trump's Struggle to Keep Grip on Russia Investigation". The New York Times. Retrieved January 5, 2018. President Trump gave firm instructions in March to the White House’s top lawyer: stop the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, from recusing himself in the Justice Department’s investigation into whether Mr. Trump’s associates had helped a Russian campaign to disrupt the 2016 election But the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, carried out the president’s orders and lobbied Mr. Sessions to remain in charge of the inquiry, according to two people with knowledge of the episode.
  23. ^ Schmidt, Michael S. (January 4, 2018). "Obstruction Inquiry Shows Trump's Struggle to Keep Grip on Russia Investigation". The New York Times.
  24. ^ Diaz, Daniella (January 5, 2018). "Ex-ethics chief: White House counsel 'is a cancer'". CNN.
  25. ^ Schmidt, Michael S.; Haberman, Maggie (January 25, 2018). "Trump Ordered Mueller Fired, but Backed Off When White House Counsel Threatened to Quit". The New York Times.
  26. ^ Schmidt, Michael S.; Haberman, Maggie (March 7, 2018). "Trump Asked Key Witnesses About Matters They Discussed With Special Counsel". The New York Times.
  27. ^ Giaritelli, Anna (4 December 2017). "Alan Dershowitz: 'You cannot charge a president with obstruction of justice for exercising his constitutional power'". Washington Examiner.
  28. ^ "White House Counsel Has Cooperated Extensively With Mueller's Obstruction Inquiry". Retrieved 18 August 2018.
  29. ^ "Don McGahn: Trump says White House counsel to depart". BBC. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  30. ^ "Don McGahn to leave job as White House counsel, Trump says". CNN. Jeremy Diamond. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  31. ^ "Secretary of the Treasury Announces Senior Staff". U.S. Department of the Treasury. U.S. Department of the Treasury Press Center. Retrieved March 3, 2017.
  32. ^ Lane, Sylvan (January 5, 2018). "Treasury aide McGahn, wife of White House counsel, to leave for House panel". The Hill.
External links Legal offices Preceded by
Neil Eggleston White House Counsel
2017–present Incumbent Political offices Preceded by
David Mason Member of the Federal Election Commission
2008–2013 Succeeded by
Lee E. Goodman Executive Office of the President – Trump Administration Office Name Term Office Name TermFirst Lady's Chief of StaffLindsay Reynolds2017– National Security Advisor John R. Bolton 2018– Deputy National Security Advisor Mira Ricardel 2018– Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford 2015– Joint Chiefs Vice Chair Gen. Paul J. Selva 2015– NSA Director Gen. Paul M. Nakasone 2018– Homeland Security Advisor Adm. Doug Fears 2018– FEMA Director Brock Long 2017– Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway (Sr. Counselor) 2017– Communications Director Bill Shine 2018– Johnny DeStefano 2018–Strategic Comms. DirectorMercedes Schlapp2018– Senior Advisers Stephen Miller (Policy)
Jared Kushner (Strategic Planning)
Ivanka Trump 2017–
2017– Deputy Comm. Director Jessica Ditto 2017– Media Affairs Director Helen Aguirre Ferré 2017– Policy Advisers Andrew Bremberg (Domestic Policy) 2017–Social Media DirectorDan Scavino2018– Paul Teller (Legislative Affairs) 2018– Peter Navarro (Trade) 2017– Larry Kudlow (Economic) 2018– Brooke Rollins (Technology/Innovation) 2018– Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders 2017– White House Counsel Don McGahn 2017– Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah (Principal) 2017– Lindsay Walters 2017– Hogan Gidley 2017– Legal Advisors Emmet Flood 2018– Press Assistant Caroline Sunshine 2018– Jay Sekulow 2017– Deputy Director of Nominations Mary Elizabeth Taylor 2017–Rudy Giuliani2018–Jane Raskin2018–Marty Raskin2018– Director of Public Liaison Justin R. Clark 2018- Public Liaison Assistant Andrew Giuliani 2017– Staff Secretary Derek Lyons 2018- Cabinet Secretary Bill McGinley 2017– Political Director Bill Stepien 2017– Social Secretary Anna Cristina Niceta Lloyd 2017– Campaign Manager Brad Parscale 2018– Sr. Campaign Adviser Katrina Pierson 2018– Campaign Adviser/Online Producer Lara Trump 2017– Campaign Adviser John McEntee 2017– Personal Secretary to the President Madeleine Westerhout 2017– Campaign Adivser Madison Gesiotto 2018– Physician to the President Cdr. Sean Conley 2018– Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt 2017– FSN Council Co-Chairs Mariano Rivera 2018– Misty May-Treanor 2018– Herschel Walker 2018– White House Counsels

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