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.

Confirmed Cases: 52037

Reported Deaths: 2762
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion12111693
Lake5677249
Elkhart366260
Allen2971134
St. Joseph221169
Hamilton1735101
Cass16489
Hendricks1470100
Johnson1351118
Porter84938
Vanderburgh8016
Tippecanoe7859
Clark71944
Madison68164
LaPorte62928
Howard61058
Bartholomew60545
Kosciusko5844
Marshall57011
Noble52428
Boone49244
LaGrange48710
Delaware48152
Jackson4793
Hancock47436
Shelby46025
Floyd41844
Monroe36128
Morgan34431
Grant32226
Dubois3196
Henry30318
Montgomery29720
Clinton2903
White27810
Dearborn27123
Warrick26829
Vigo2618
Decatur25732
Lawrence25325
Harrison21822
Greene19932
Miami1942
Jennings17912
Putnam1748
DeKalb1694
Scott1659
Wayne1596
Daviess15117
Perry15110
Steuben1402
Orange13823
Jasper1362
Ripley1357
Franklin1288
Gibson1282
Wabash1193
Carroll1142
Starke1093
Fayette1087
Whitley1086
Newton10110
Huntington942
Jefferson872
Wells831
Randolph804
Fulton761
Jay720
Knox710
Washington681
Pulaski661
Clay645
Posey640
Rush623
Spencer591
Owen531
Benton510
Sullivan511
Adams491
Brown441
Blackford402
Fountain362
Crawford330
Tipton331
Switzerland320
Parke280
Martin260
Ohio230
Vermillion200
Warren151
Union140
Pike120
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 66853

Reported Deaths: 3064
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin12301449
Cuyahoga9359399
Hamilton7046208
Lucas3079306
Marion275539
Montgomery257936
Summit2382209
Pickaway222942
Mahoning1971239
Butler189747
Columbiana139560
Stark1244116
Lorain118970
Trumbull106678
Warren101826
Clark82010
Delaware76315
Fairfield71917
Lake62723
Tuscarawas62110
Licking60012
Medina59932
Belmont57324
Clermont5157
Miami51431
Wood51051
Portage50960
Ashtabula45244
Geauga43143
Richland3906
Allen38541
Wayne37655
Greene3659
Mercer30410
Erie30122
Holmes2625
Darke26126
Huron2602
Madison2259
Ottawa21724
Athens1921
Sandusky17615
Ross1503
Washington14720
Putnam14515
Coshocton1434
Crawford1405
Jefferson1272
Morrow1271
Hardin12512
Union1151
Auglaize1124
Muskingum1061
Preble961
Lawrence920
Clinton912
Monroe8917
Hancock871
Hocking839
Guernsey824
Scioto770
Shelby774
Williams772
Carroll713
Logan711
Ashland692
Fulton680
Wyandot665
Brown621
Fayette580
Highland581
Champaign571
Knox571
Defiance553
Van Wert491
Perry481
Seneca442
Henry370
Paulding340
Jackson310
Pike290
Adams282
Vinton232
Gallia211
Noble140
Harrison131
Meigs130
Morgan120
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Few Clouds
84° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 84°
Angola
Clear
82° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 82°
Huntington
Scattered Clouds
83° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 83°
Decatur
Clear
82° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 82°
Van Wert
Clear
82° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 82°
Storms Late Wednesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events