|White House Counsel|
January 20, 2017
|Preceded by||Neil Eggleston|
|Chairman of the Federal Election Commission|
July 10, 2008 – December 31, 2008
|President||George W. Bush|
|Succeeded by||Steven T. Walther|
|Member of the Federal Election Commission|
July 9, 2008 – September 12, 2013
|President||George W. Bush
|Preceded by||David Mason|
|Succeeded by||Lee E. Goodman|
June 16, 1968 |
Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
|Education||University of Notre Dame (BA)
Widener University (JD)
Georgetown University (LLM)
Donald F. 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).
McGahn grew up in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the son of Noreen (Rogan) and Donald F. McGahn, and attended Our Lady Star of the Sea School in Atlantic City and Holy Spirit High School in nearby Absecon. He attended the United States Naval Academy, then received a BA in history and computer applications from the University of Notre Dame in 1991. He obtained his JD from Widener University School of Law in 1994 followed by a Master of Laws from the Georgetown University Law Center in 2002.
After graduation from law school, McGahn worked in campaign finance law at the Washington, D.C. office of law firm Patton Boggs. From 1999 to 2008, McGahn was chief counsel for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).
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. McGahn resigned from the FEC in September 2013.
McGahn served as Donald Trump's campaign counsel during his 2016 campaign for president. McGahn managed all litigation involving Donald Trump's 2016 Presidential campaign, and he successfully defeated numerous litigations and legal efforts to derail the 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. 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. 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. McGahn successfully managed and won these litigations.
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.
McGahn personally recommended Trump nominate Neil Gorsuch to replace Antonin Scalia 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. Gorsuch was sworn in on Monday April 10, 2017. McGahn also recommended the nomination of Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta. Acosta was sworn in on April 28, 2017.
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.
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. 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.  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."
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.
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.
|White House Counsel
|Member of the Federal Election Commission
Lee E. Goodman
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