The Briefing Room: Top White House lawyer leaving administration

White House counsel Don McGahn expected to leave after SCOTUS vote, Trump says.
17:45 | 08/29/18

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Transcript for The Briefing Room: Top White House lawyer leaving administration
Welcome to the Britain remind Devin Dwyer on this Wednesday whether political reported John Weaver public. White House reporter Catherine folders and we are glad to have you with us on this post primary day Wednesday. Later Vargas guys were called the briefing room we normally bring you the White House briefing some analysis and how mines from that. But some interest in stats that we just crunch there've only been five White House briefings this entire month. Sir Sanders only spend a little over an hour the potent poignancy get a lot more of us this summer. We hope the White House we'll take some more questions coming out. But speaking at the White House let's go to some breaking news from there today the president announcing. That White House counsel Don McCann. Is set to leave the White House later this year later the spawn of this didn't come as a big surprise. About Katharine help people understand just how critical Don McGann is. To basically everything that's gone on tribe. Others a lot of elements to me and they've had a relationship. For some time he's been with him since the very beginning. But it we have been reporting for a couple months now that he that they have the frayed relationship that began did app planned to leave in the fall but he's been critical. Unto the judicial appointments and to the Supreme Court nominee the nominee cabin on that's why he's saying to the processing you already see. Republicans on Capitol Hill upset about this specifically because of those judicial nominees. And I want to get to that in a second but this. White House counsel dom again top legal advisor to the president somebody who's an umpire for all legal decisions in the administration. As Catherine says a key player in some of the judicial appointments but also. Up policing the president's decisions and he the president has had some. Pretty nice things to say today about damning him it's Nicholas. Yes it really. It would be a long time privately before its present that you are now almost two years. Our profession. And who the movie I'm probably friends at. Well but he's. Let's let's bring our White House correspondent terror Paul Mary who has been following this. All day long since it broke the news this morning terror the president was asked just after that if he had any concerns. About John McCann leaving as you know McGann more than any other member of this White House. His students are the most time meeting its special counsel Robert Mo. Brady he was also there during those critical times the firing of James called me. The night when flames had lied to the vice president he was he's been there front and center by the president cited some of the tense as moments and could possibly be. One of the best witnesses for obstruction. Of justice case. Out like you said it was no surprise. And again want to leave one of his a source let's again said that. It was one of the worst kept secret that he was thinks leave the White House by the summer that in the opening for her this. The Supreme Court seat. He is I'd like to stay on. Through the fall possibly through the mid terms but clearly the president's trying to get out there that it's not going to be surprised that began leaving and I can't imagine and that the news of how much Robert Mueller helps a relationship that was already so Frey. And and as Catherine alluded to earlier terrorist the. President's allies on Capitol Hill not. Taking this news. Easily Mitch McConnell senate majority leader saying he's sort of hopes he heard this. Correctly that Don begins leaving Chuck Grassley was tweeting earlier that he hoped it wasn't true. Why do you think the the room reluctance to see him go. Well he's been very effective in getting judicial appointments going through he's considered like a judicial appointment machine and president has praised him for that. He's been he's a true conservative you know he reports and that the Bush Administration he's eaten at one under on you know he was along time K street lobbyists and I. Even Washington creature could say and so I think EE Alec Estee pair of hands in the White House. I think and at a very senior position able to almost monitor and police the president which could be a good thing our animal or maybe not. And Catherine. Already some names bubble in about about who could replace them again and it flood. When the White House lawyers is seems to be the most like. He'll remember back in May when Ty Cobb the White House special counsel leading at the Russian investigation internally last Emmet flood. Who was formerly at works as a lawyer to Bill Clinton on his impeachment left his off arm to come over sources told us at the time that. He would only come over if he would ultimately take that job. Of done again so what we're hearing now is that he is likely the choice for that it's unclear when that will be announced but he's likely to transition. Meanwhile the president we know today. Bubbling up again the frustration he has with the Russian investigation that's been ongoing lashing out at the attorney general the past few days. In this morning launching a broadside of tweets let's put him up against. The FBI and the justice department for what he says is their failure to investigate Hillary Clinton's email server specifically referring to. This report in the daily caller guys that they had some anonymous sourcing their credit that the Chinese man Anderson. As that and I was here until about you know 2 AM last night about 1 AM we side tweet from trump and it was something about China and hacking Hillary's you know android. Going on. But you know it's important bring in some reporting from a colleague Mike Levine on this which is that the FBI's is pushing back against this important thing there's no evidence. That that the server was hacked by trying to rush or anyone but your right that this is something the president just continually comes back to again and again and again. And so he's clearly in our heads this mine is really all. But what makes this so extraordinary is in light of the attacks on the FBI and the Justice Department the FBI. Took the step that they have coming out directly responding to this tweet insane way to second. There's no evidence here that the Chinese did in fact intercept. Hillary Clinton's emails it to be continued no doubt with the president. Meanwhile was a big night in politics the president watching those as well was so many of us were late last night Johnny was leading the charge here are Mary Alice parks. Is on the ground in Florida are deputy political director she was there for what was something of a political earthquake. Last night a big surprise. In the democratic primary for governor there Mary Alice. Introduce a standard deal. It was a big surprise last night injured killed and young 39 year old African American and a mayor from Tallahassee. Big in the democratic gubernatorial primary he was expected to win. It was running against Wayne grant who's sort of political fixture down here in Florida her father wasn't former governor she was a former congresswoman. But did you feel it was day nanny he was reading this very. Progressive campaign and unabashedly progressive and we've seen democratic voters in other states like George and Maryland. Really add galvanized around the new exciting progress as we saw here last night. The I have to say that that was last night and already today a huge shaped in town. There are public and Iran's stance and 86 decade. And a dark day in the sunshine state as first thing this morning during an interview with. Fox News he said that the last thing that the state should do it is monkey this up. That's trying to embrace a socialist agenda. Obviously was not lost on the Galen campaign that he was talking about monkeys and pentagon as an African American. Yeah let's stay on that point Mary Alice that that comments are not so much. On social media after it happened this morning Rhonda Santas are forced Republican congressman from Florida trump endorsed. He won his primary as you say and then went on Fox News and had this to say about his opponent with. Four elections are always competitive and you know this is a guy who'll although he's much too too liberal for Florida I'd he's got huge problems of how he's governed Tallahassee. You know he is an articulate spokesmen for those far left views and he's a charismatic candidate and you know I watched as Democrat debates not a that is as my cup Petit. But I mean he perform better than the other people there are so so we've got our work hard. To make sure that we continue Florida going in a good direction let's build off the success we've had a governor Scott the last thing we need to do. Is among keep this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases. And bankrupting the state that is not gonna work that's not gonna be good for Florida. I so I'm gonna fight for what I believe in because I think I'm the guy who can really lead Florida and a good direction. And Andrew gill on just moments ago. Responded to those comments and the controversy that has erupted over them. Let's take a listen to what he had to say also on Fox News. That that part wasn't lost army it's very clear. That mr. Desantis is taking a page directly from the campaign manual Donald Trump if he thinks that in today's day and age Florida voters are going to respond to that level of the region in division they're sick of it. We've got to make shoe would that we stay focused I think on the issues that confront every day people. And John it seems to me that this is just an opening episode in what we're gonna see in so many races run the country candidates. Sort of adopting truly that Donald Trump playbook this is trump Hisham on this. Way that those is going to be a fascinating race but this whole episode is really a microcosm of committees these national fights that have been playing out than our council attitude. This these fights between identity you have you know in Georgia and Florida yet to African American candidates facing off against you who would I be the first African Americans our governors in the us it's exactly. You have you have facing up against trump aligned white male candidates. You also have this battle on ideology you as well if you can't be lost that you know this is also a fight between two pretty progressive candidates. And then again to Republican candidates that have really tight themselves heavily to the term agenda it's just. You're seeing that microcosm play out. In these races and optimism on display also know that race a little bit of Bernie vs strong because that's you know was that was as a progressive memory Sanders. Mary Alice also that's his name out a little bit to some some the other results from last night and big night. Strong night for women's in many house races across the country. And in a you've also been closely tracking what happened in Arizona where we've been. Watching that hotly contested senate race for Jeff flake C. Going to be ill. Certain to women competing for that see it. Democrats hoping can be picked up opportunities for it and it would love to have one more senator back in Washington. In the fall and bumps can women really making a stand last night. There are few Republican women nationwide it's actually. Fair to Democrats they are about three times as many Democrats running for congress. Female Democrats running for congress as Republican women running for congress. The last night was over Republican women that were really having a good night you socked about one out Arizona. North and Sally there's gonna be it Republican nominee for that senate race I'm standing outside his campaign headquarters. Hubble plumbing here. Maria Elvira Salazar who is really well known in the Miami area she was a former television aging American and she's now the Republican nominee for this wide open seat. In the southern part of Miami Democrats have been hoping to pick it out but she is really dynamic and she might as well their plants. Really pristine night in those Sunbelt races last night we've got a couple more primaries to coming any of the leading the charge Mary Alice thank you so much for that let's take a look at the big picture where we stand our friends at 538. Have put together a forecast of course if you haven't seen it check it out. 538 dot com they have put your forecast for what the house could look like. Yes 69 days from now after the mid term Election Day they've got a senate forecasts in the works here it is. After last night's results three in four chance that Democrats will win control also pretty good chance they'll. Up for Democrats won in four chance that Republicans keep control and an emphasis on the one there's still a chance that Republicans could. Hold out Johnny in England and in many people saying even if they don't keep control this could be very narrow march oh absolutely. And I have a feeling that map is going to be probably my life for the next. Seventy days or so but it's fascinating to look at at this map and to see where Democrats are going on offense and it's a wide variety of districts it suburban districts. It's districts had been traditionally held by Republicans are now definitely changing demographically so. It's it'll be fascinating to see were Democrats on offense and sentence that's very few. To check that out at 538. I dot com meanwhile. Other remembrances for our friend John McCain senator of Arizona are continuing this week they began today in Arizona and the pictures guys. We've been watching the coverage here have I've been quite moving. We got our first look at senator John McCain's casket today be taken into the State Capitol over her alliance state today. And we also saw his wife Cindy McCain in a pretty poignant moment paying her respects to her husband. All of John McCain's children were there as well you see two of his sons who are in the military. And heard some are pretty poignant remembrances from friends of John McCain including from former Arizona senator John Kyle. John McCain believed. In America. He believed in its people its values. And its institutions. He said he came to this realization during his time as a POW in Vietnam. I fell in love with my country he said when I was a prisoner in someone else's. As a result he dedicated his life to serve his country. When he saw challenges to its institutions are values. He fought to protect them. And the focus of course will shift back here to Washington tomorrow night after that church service tomorrow in Arizona and the former senator will will arrive here in guys are ready. So much attention in this town on this including. Some changes to Google Maps already getting a little bit ahead of themselves parts of the capital been renamed for. I'm and that's humor resolution that in the fate of that is still to be determined but the Russell. A senate office building on Google Maps that it didn't know that someone there could happen and it kind of but Wikipedia someone to make it happen early and fear right there. I was apparently the McCain senator I don't mean something that did that Democrats this calf instead of supported but. Republicans John eyler the cool on this idea right out of the gate. It was able Seubert goes I mean I think again I think this is just. Ever and kind of reflecting on John McCain's legacy and sort of what he meant to American politics this week and this is just another part of that. Conversation to that would be about a very big deal. And as you look at live picture was like picture thereof John McCain line in state there it is let's go back one last time the terror on the area at the White House. Terror the controversy over the flag in the president's feelings about John McCain has clearly blown over. What are you hearing from folks they are about how the administration will will be represented in play. In some of the events in town here next couple days. Will we know that the president won't be at the funeral that's a very strong side requested by Senator John McCain. I in the last event that the president had he engaged with the tracks on a variety of topics from North Korean attic China to trade. Robert Mueller. Dom again everything that he would ask dozens of times in that. I guess it's it's Gromit that a bank about John McCain didn't talk about him one so I think that that. Comment that he made at me to the evangelical group. A few days ago is public the last time we are gonna hear anything out of the president about John McCain as we know me and I'm looking in not to along it where. Almost rivals. Towards the end of McCain flights so. You see though. Senator Lindsey Graham said on CNN that. After his very touching the to suggest that president immediate soft and not as a bank. And they are going to keep the flags at half staff. And we you know think he's sneaky terrorists so much for your for your reporting we know the White House. Will be relatively quiet this weekend the vice president those speaking at a service on Friday at the capitol and then Jim -- the Defense Secretary for president trump. Will be one of the pallbearers at the funeral will be covered all of it right here to ABC news. ABC news live On the ABC news app we hope you downloaded if you don't have it. And we'll have more the highlights tomorrow right here in a briefing room. For joining her public. And our whole team Mary Alice parks Catherine fall there's and the gang we hope you'll join us again next time. Use.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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