CLOSINGS: View Closings

McGahn's push to reshape the judiciary

White House counsel Donald McGahn made one thing clear to those who have worked closely with him in recent weeks: He ...

Posted: Jan 27, 2018 6:53 PM
Updated: Jan 27, 2018 6:53 PM

White House counsel Donald McGahn made one thing clear to those who have worked closely with him in recent weeks: He wasn't going anywhere.

But that confidence grew more complicated Thursday night after the explosive revelation that Trump attempted to fire special counsel Robert Mueller last summer and backed down only after McGahn threatened to quit. For a President loathe to be challenged by staff, the publicity surrounding McGahn's threat could leave him subject to Trump's ire.

McGahn declined to comment for this story. At the White House on Friday, there seemed to be no change in his mood, according to an official.

As the Russia investigation plays out, McGahn has taken a long view toward policy issues that he thinks could serve as legacy issues for Trump. He recently met with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley about installing more conservatives in the judiciary. He's taken a keen interest in deregulatory issues.

His drive to reshape the judiciary has fueled him during the tumult of the past year. McGahn, McConnell and Grassley have moved with lightning speed to place conservatives at all levels of the judiciary. Grassley announced at the end of last term that they had broken records by confirming 12 nominees for federal appeals courts.

"In a year when legislative victories were hard to come by, the 'judicial wave' of 2017 was a very important benchmark for political success," Leonard Leo, who serves as an outside adviser on judicial selections, wrote in Newsweek on Wednesday. "And, looking ahead to the rest of 2018, it is likely to become the GOP leadership's case-in-chief for redoubling unified and intense action on the many federal judicial nominees the President still has to nominate."

McGahn has his hands in many pots at the White House, one source said. But ever since the early days of Trump's campaign, he's viewed reshaping the judiciary as the President's most lasting legacy.

The effort has not been without controversy.

Late last year, three nominees had to remove their names from Senate confirmation, raising questions about the strength of McGahn's vetting operation. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said at the time that she hoped the White House had learned a lesson and would slow down.

But no one hit pause.

In December, the White House released a new slate of judges including several more seasoned jurists than the controversial nominees that the administration had to withdraw. On Wednesday, Grassley gaveled in hearings for Michael Brennan for the 7th Circuit. McConnell also announced this week that the Senate will hold a cloture vote for Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras to the 8th Circuit.

And McGahn and other Republicans aren't just focusing on lower court judges. They are carefully watching the Supreme Court to see if Justice Anthony Kennedy or another one of the justices might retire. Kennedy has hired clerks for next term, and sources say that the White House has received no signal whether the 81-year-old justice has plans to step down.

But that doesn't stop the planning. According to two sources, Kennedy has told at least one clerk in the hiring process that retirement is always a possibility. Although the fact that Kennedy has hired clerks seems to strongly suggest he's not ready to hang up his robes yet, a retirement announcement in April would not be unprecedented. Top on the list of possible replacements would be former Kennedy clerks Judge Brett Kavanaugh and Judge Raymond Kethledge, and also under consideration are Judge Thomas Hardiman, Judge Amy Coney Barrett and Judge Joan Larsen.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1462456

Reported Deaths: 20308
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion2005922494
Lake992001456
Allen903391005
Hamilton70705539
St. Joseph63078746
Elkhart48098622
Vanderburgh46217523
Tippecanoe42115330
Johnson37119516
Hendricks35078455
Porter33900460
Madison28036530
Clark25186321
Vigo24768341
LaPorte22894307
Monroe22201243
Howard21344372
Delaware20937363
Hancock18289217
Kosciusko17513199
Bartholomew17399212
Warrick16060212
Wayne15757296
Floyd15399252
Grant14898293
Morgan13934230
Boone13172136
Noble11421140
Dearborn11355112
Henry11312201
Shelby11231150
Marshall11041166
Dubois10782152
Jackson10174104
DeKalb9944128
Cass9942142
Lawrence9914219
Huntington9823139
Gibson9131125
Montgomery9005140
Knox8762124
Harrison8718111
Whitley844771
Steuben8340102
Jasper8069113
Putnam795197
Clinton792994
Miami7914133
Wabash7598138
Jefferson7551124
Ripley6993111
Adams6508101
Scott629086
Daviess6266127
White602379
Greene5913111
Clay587173
Wells5814120
Decatur5754118
Jennings572276
Fayette5657121
Posey529146
LaGrange512996
Randolph4925128
Washington482067
Owen480398
Fountain463579
Spencer438156
Starke434086
Sullivan432164
Fulton426790
Orange412682
Jay403964
Rush395736
Carroll371349
Franklin369850
Perry362155
Vermillion345062
Pike308945
Tipton307974
Parke305038
Pulaski266973
Blackford266755
Newton228359
Brown222654
Benton213321
Crawford211231
Switzerland189414
Martin181921
Warren169520
Union163619
Ohio119516
Unassigned0742

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2403645

Reported Deaths: 30922
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin2596932036
Cuyahoga2572672998
Hamilton1666711699
Montgomery1103831586
Summit1066861382
Lucas895171149
Butler78647924
Stark747301383
Lorain62885783
Warren49934468
Mahoning49735909
Lake46850586
Clermont43541428
Delaware38876210
Trumbull38576748
Medina37611416
Licking36901401
Fairfield33848331
Greene32124416
Portage31381356
Clark30277440
Richland28251420
Wood27660289
Allen24372392
Miami22806389
Muskingum22298244
Columbiana22095399
Wayne21275354
Tuscarawas18847423
Erie18041221
Ashtabula17932338
Marion17503231
Scioto16553203
Ross16163249
Pickaway15536173
Hancock15251227
Geauga15244221
Lawrence13847186
Huron13399182
Union1329683
Belmont13255247
Jefferson12864257
Sandusky12770197
Athens11949106
Knox11511195
Seneca11454200
Ashland10795174
Darke10673196
Washington10564168
Auglaize10152141
Crawford9854175
Shelby9699155
Brown9400140
Fulton9235148
Guernsey9109115
Defiance9057134
Highland9035143
Logan8955141
Clinton8719121
Mercer8640111
Madison8568104
Preble8002160
Williams7848135
Putnam7731135
Ottawa7629120
Champaign7556112
Jackson7383114
Perry714598
Coshocton7043136
Morrow694580
Fayette662287
Hardin6219125
Pike617086
Gallia594989
Adams5779124
Van Wert5779120
Henry565592
Hocking5521103
Carroll4828100
Wyandot482289
Holmes4747161
Paulding401163
Meigs375071
Monroe299368
Noble279851
Harrison279461
Morgan276848
Vinton239845
Unassigned08
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
35° wxIcon
Hi: 35° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 26°
Angola
Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 32° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 26°
Huntington
Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 28°
Decatur
Cloudy
35° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 26°
Van Wert
Cloudy
33° wxIcon
Hi: 36° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 22°
A gusty northwest wind ushers in another round of Arctic air which lingers for the rest of the workweek.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events