Attorney/Client » Amid Controversies, Spotlight On White House Counsel

Amid Controversies, Spotlight On White House Counsel

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February 14, 2017

In the wake of the resignation of Michael Flynn, former National Security Advisor to President Donald Trump, attention must now turn to what White House Counsel Donald McGahn knew, and when, and why, writes former Assistant Attorney General for George W. Bush and Harvard Law professor Jack Goldsmith on his Lawfare blog. Flynn resigned over allegations he discussed U.S. sanctions with a Russian envoy before Trump took office. It was revealed that then-Acting Attorney General Sally Yates told the White House counsel late last month that she believed Flynn had misled senior administration officials about his Russian communications, and “was potentially vulnerable to Russian blackmail,” according to the Washington Post. In light of that revelation, “it will be crucial t ask what McGahn did with this information, and when, and why,” Goldsmith writes. He also suggests McGahn be asked what has done to enforce ethics rules, “one of the White House Counsel’s primary responsibilities,” which makes him responsible for the “multiple ethics problems swirling around” the nascent Trump administration.

In a previous post Goldsmith suggested that, based on the missteps of the Administration in rolling out its immigration Executive Order as well as Trump’s continued incendiary tweeting, McGahn is either “incompetent,” or, “if he tried to put the brakes on the EO, and if he warned his client about the adverse impact of his tweets – then he has shockingly little influence with the President and within the White House (i.e. he is ineffectual.”)

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