How to Defeat Trump/McGahn/Barr’s Weaponization of the Courts

EDITED: In the video, I mistakenly say that election day is “November 4, 2020.” It is “November 3, 2020.” My apologies for the error.

Trump and his nefarious associates believe they have perfected exploiting the delay in the court system to run out the clock and never be held to account. The fix is not as difficult as you might think.

There’s an abundance of specialized courts created to deal with specific types of cases. For example, there are drug courts, mental health courts, juvenile courts and domestic violence courts. In federal district court in Washington, DC, for example, there is reentry court.

Creating these courts do not require an act of Congress. It simply takes the judicial branch–a co-equal branch of the government–to recognize a particularized need in the criminal justice system and instituting common-sense rule changes to address the need.

If there was ever a need to address a deficiency, it is in the way nefarious actors exploit the delay inherent in the system. DC federal district court can easily remedy this weakness by creating an Inter-Branch Dispute Court (IBDC). When legal disputes erupt between the executive and legislative branches, like the need to enforce the House of Representatives’ subpoena for Don McGahn’s testimony in the impeachment inquiry, the IBDC can give the parties 72 hours to file their briefs, another 72 hours to present their oral arguments and the court decision would be entered within 72 hours of the conclusion of those arguments. The appeals court can follow the same 72/72/72 time table. Justice can be done in a matter of weeks, as opposed to the Trumps and McGahns of the world delay justice for months or years.

This common sense approach to fixing a proceduraly broken judiciary is a must for the health of our democracy.

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Graham: ‘I don’t care’ what happened between Trump and McGahn

Sen. Lindsey Graham on Sunday said he doesn’t care if President Donald Trump told then-White House counsel Don McGahn to fire special counsel Robert Mueller — the Mueller investigation is over.

“It’s all theater — it doesn’t matter,” the South Carolina Republican told “Face the Nation” host Margaret Brennan. “I don’t care what he said to Don McGahn — it’s what he did. The president never obstructed.”

“It doesn’t matter to you that the president is changing a version of events and some would say lying?” Brennan asked.

In a redacted version of Mueller’s report, McGahn is reported to have said he refused to fire Mueller when ordered to do so by Trump. The president has denied he told anyone to fire McGahn, tweeting that if he had wanted to fire Mueller, he could have done it himself.

“If you’re going to look at every president who pops off at his staff, asks them to do something that is maybe crazy, then we won’t have any presidents,” Graham said, claiming he had “fought hard as hell” to make sure Mueller was able to carry out his investigation unobstructed.

Graham, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he won’t call Mueller or McGahn to testify now.

“I don’t know how clear I can be, Margaret: It’s over for me,” Graham said, calling obstruction of justice “absurd.”

Shields and Brooks on Trump and foreign campaign help, Democratic debates

Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week’s political news, including President Trump’s comments about willingness to accept foreign opposition research, the status of election security legislation, candidate lineups for the upcoming Democratic presidential debates and the politics of Democratic socialism.

 

 

Trump Tries To Clean Up Comments On Accepting Intel From Foreign Governments | Deadline | MSNBC

 

(12:18)
AND NBC’S PETER ALEXANDER ADDING THIS REPORTING TO OUR
ADDING THIS REPORTING TO OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THIS NOW WAR OF
UNDERSTANDING OF THIS NOW WAR OF WORDS TODAY BETWEEN DON McGHAN
WORDS TODAY BETWEEN DON McGHAN AND DONALD TRUMP.
AND DONALD TRUMP. PETER’S REPORTING THAT A PERSON
PETER’S REPORTING THAT A PERSON CLOSE TO FORMER WHITE HOUSE
CLOSE TO FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL DON McGHAN IS DISMISSING
COUNSEL DON McGHAN IS DISMISSING PRESIDENT TRUMP’S COMMENTS PRESIDENT TRUMP’S COMMENTS TO ABC NEWS WHERE HE DISPUTES McGAHN’S TESTIMONY SAYING,
QUOTE, IT’S NOT FANTASY LAND. SO WE HAVE FANTASY LAND, WE HAVE
SO WE HAVE FANTASY LAND, WE HAVE THE TOOTH FAIRY.
THE TOOTH FAIRY. McGAHN PUSHING BACK MORE THAN HE
McGAHN PUSHING BACK MORE THAN HE DID THE FIRST COUPLE ROUNDS OF
DID THE FIRST COUPLE ROUNDS OF SMEARS AGAINST McGAHN.
SMEARS AGAINST McGAHN. DO YOU THINK McGAHN IS SOMEONE
DO YOU THINK McGAHN IS SOMEONE WHO MIGHT EVENTUALLY GET
WHO MIGHT EVENTUALLY GET BATTERED ENOUGH TO TESTIFY?
BATTERED ENOUGH TO TESTIFY? >> I DON’T UNDERSTAND THE SENSE
>> I DON’T UNDERSTAND THE SENSE IN PUBLICLY ATTACKING DON
IN PUBLICLY ATTACKING DON McGHAN.
McGHAN. I — I CAN’T FATHOM IT.
I — I CAN’T FATHOM IT. I REALLY CAN’T FATHOM IT.
I REALLY CAN’T FATHOM IT. >> EXPLAIN THAT.
>> EXPLAIN THAT. >> YOU’RE GOADING HIM INTO — I
>> YOU’RE GOADING HIM INTO — I KNOW THIS IS JUST WHAT THE
KNOW THIS IS JUST WHAT THE PRESIDENT DOES AND I DON’T THINK
–PRESIDENT DOES AND I DON’T THINK HE’S THINKING ABOUT IT IN A
STRATEGIC FASHION
BECAUSE WHO SHOULD EXPECT A PRESIDENT TO THINK
STRATEGICALLY. >> I DON’T BELIEVE HE IS
>> I DON’T BELIEVE HE IS THINKING STRATEGICALLY.
THINKING STRATEGICALLY. BUT IS HE JUST TRYING TO GOAD
BUT IS HE JUST TRYING TO GOAD DON McGHAN INTO MAKING A PUBLIC
DON McGHAN INTO MAKING A PUBLIC STATEMENT?
STATEMENT? I MEAN, IT’S KIND OF — AND NOW
I MEAN, IT’S KIND OF — AND NOW WE’RE SEEING, AGAIN, I WONDER IF
WE’RE SEEING, AGAIN, I WONDER IF IT’S THE SAME SOURCE, BUT
IT’S THE SAME SOURCE, BUT SOURCES CLOSE TO McGAHN WE’RE
SOURCES CLOSE TO McGAHN WE’RE SEEING THESE VERY SIMILAR
SEEING THESE VERY SIMILAR STATEMENTS.
STATEMENTS. I DON’T KNOW.
I DON’T KNOW. I MEAN, I DON’T THINK THIS
I MEAN, I DON’T THINK THIS CHANGES THE CALCULUS IN THE
CHANGES THE CALCULUS IN THE SHORT-TERM ABOUT WHETHER HE
SHORT-TERM ABOUT WHETHER HE TESTIFIES OR NOT, BUT I DON’T
TESTIFIES OR NOT, BUT I DON’T SEE THE SENSE IN IT.
SEE THE SENSE IN IT. >> ASHLEY PARKER?
>> ASHLEY PARKER? >> AGAIN IT MAKES NO SENSE.
>> AGAIN IT MAKES NO SENSE. THE PRESIDENT IS GETTING
THE PRESIDENT IS GETTING DANGEROUSLY CLOSE TO ALMOST
DANGEROUSLY CLOSE TO ALMOST PUSHING FOR AN OUTCOME THAT HE
PUSHING FOR AN OUTCOME THAT HE DOESN’T WANT AND WOULDN’T
DOESN’T WANT AND WOULDN’T BENEFIT HIM.
BENEFIT HIM. YOU HAVE DON McGHAN WHO IS
YOU HAVE DON McGHAN WHO IS SOMEONE BASED ON THE MUELLER
SOMEONE BASED ON THE MUELLER REPORT AND EVERYTHING WE
REPORT AND EVERYTHING WE UNDERSTAND, REPEATEDLY ACTUALLY
UNDERSTAND, REPEATEDLY ACTUALLY SAVED THE PRESIDENT FROM
SAVED THE PRESIDENT FROM HIMSELF.
HIMSELF. AND THE PRESIDENT MAY NOT HAVE
AND THE PRESIDENT MAY NOT HAVE LIKED IT IN THOSE MOMENTS AND,
LIKED IT IN THOSE MOMENTS AND, IN FACT, HE DIDN’T AT THE TIME
IN FACT, HE DIDN’T AT THE TIME WE HEARD A LOT ABOUT CLASHES
WE HEARD A LOT ABOUT CLASHES WITH DON McGHAN AND HE DIDN’T
WITH DON McGHAN AND HE DIDN’T LIKE DON McGHAN BECAUSE DON
LIKE DON McGHAN BECAUSE DON McGHAN WOULD STAND UP TO HIM AND
McGHAN WOULD STAND UP TO HIM AND GIVE HIM THE LAWYER’S POINT OF
GIVE HIM THE LAWYER’S POINT OF VIEW, IT TURNS OUT IN HINDSIGHT
VIEW, IT TURNS OUT IN HINDSIGHT THE PRESIDENT IS LUCKY DON
THE PRESIDENT IS LUCKY DON McGHAN WAS THERE PLAYING THAT
McGHAN WAS THERE PLAYING THAT ROLE.
ROLE. DON McGHAN ONLY TESTIFIED FOR
DON McGHAN ONLY TESTIFIED FOR THOSE 30 HOURS YOU MENTIONED
THOSE 30 HOURS YOU MENTIONED BECAUSE HE WAS ABIDING BY — YOU
BECAUSE HE WAS ABIDING BY — YOU CAN DISAGREE WITH IF IT’S GOOD
CAN DISAGREE WITH IF IT’S GOOD OR BAD STRATEGY, HE WAS ABIDING
OR BAD STRATEGY, HE WAS ABIDING BY A STRATEGY COOKED UP BY THE
BY A STRATEGY COOKED UP BY THE PRESIDENT’S LAWYERS AT THE TIME,
PRESIDENT’S LAWYERS AT THE TIME, AND NOW HE’S RISKING POSSIBLE
AND NOW HE’S RISKING POSSIBLE CON TEMPT TO DEFY A
CON TEMPT TO DEFY A CONGRESSIONAL SUBPOENA.
CONGRESSIONAL SUBPOENA. HE’S NOT LIKE THESE DEMOCRATS,
HE’S NOT LIKE THESE DEMOCRATS, HE’S NOT THE PERSON YOU WANT TO
HE’S NOT THE PERSON YOU WANT TO GOAD INTO FINALLY SAYING I’VE
GOAD INTO FINALLY SAYING I’VE HAD ENOUGH.
HAD ENOUGH. THAT’S NOT A SAVVY STRATEGY.
THAT’S NOT A SAVVY STRATEGY. >>> HE’S ALSO ONE OF THESE SORT
>>> HE’S ALSO ONE OF THESE SORT OF FIGURES IN TRUMP LAND WITH
OF FIGURES IN TRUMP LAND WITH ULTIMATE CREDIBILITY.
ULTIMATE CREDIBILITY. HE’S NOT A LIBERAL’S FANTASY,
HE’S NOT A LIBERAL’S FANTASY, NOT A WHISTLE BLOWER, HE STANDS
NOT A WHISTLE BLOWER, HE STANDS BEHIND THE SUPREME COURT PICKS.
BEHIND THE SUPREME COURT PICKS. HIS LEGACY IS THIS VAST BODY OF
HIS LEGACY IS THIS VAST BODY OF JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS.
JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS. HIS CLOSE ALLY IN THE SENATE IS
HIS CLOSE ALLY IN THE SENATE IS MITCH McCONNELL.
MITCH McCONNELL. HE’S NOT GOING TO BE THIS
HE’S NOT GOING TO BE THIS SATISFYING WITNESS FOR THE LEFT
SATISFYING WITNESS FOR THE LEFT AND HE’S NOT, IT WOULD APPEAR,
AND HE’S NOT, IT WOULD APPEAR, ANYMORE FEEL BEHOLDEN PERSONALLY
ANYMORE FEEL BEHOLDEN PERSONALLY TO THE WHITE HOUSE.
TO THE WHITE HOUSE. HE IS THE ULTIMATE TRUTH TELLER,
HE IS THE ULTIMATE TRUTH TELLER, AND IF HE SIMPLY TESTIFIES TO
AND IF HE SIMPLY TESTIFIES TO WHAT IS IN THE MUELLER REPORT ON
WHAT IS IN THE MUELLER REPORT ON TELEVISION, IN FRONT OF CAMERAS,
TELEVISION, IN FRONT OF CAMERAS, IT WOULD BE DEVASTATING TO THIS
IT WOULD BE DEVASTATING TO THIS PRESIDENT.
PRESIDENT. >> IT WOULD BE DEVASTATING BUT I
>> IT WOULD BE DEVASTATING BUT I THINK ALL THE THINGS YOU JUST
THINK ALL THE THINGS YOU JUST MENTIONED ARE THE REASONS WHY
MENTIONED ARE THE REASONS WHY DON McGHAN IS NOT TESTIFYING.
DON McGHAN IS NOT TESTIFYING. THE PRESIDENT KEEPS ATTACKING
THE PRESIDENT KEEPS ATTACKING HIM BECAUSE OF THE LAST THREE OR
HIM BECAUSE OF THE LAST THREE OR SO YEARS, THE PRESIDENT HAS
SO YEARS, THE PRESIDENT HAS LEARNED ABOUT THE REPUBLICAN
LEARNED ABOUT THE REPUBLICAN ESTABLISHMENT HE CAN BEAT THEM
ESTABLISHMENT HE CAN BEAT THEM UP, ATTACK THEM, AND THEY’LL
UP, ATTACK THEM, AND THEY’LL CAVE EVERY TIME.
CAVE EVERY TIME. FROM EVERYTHING YOU HEAR, DON
FROM EVERYTHING YOU HEAR, DON McGHAN AND TRUMP HATE EACH
McGHAN AND TRUMP HATE EACH OTHER.
OTHER. >> ISN’T HIS INTEGRITY ON THE
>> ISN’T HIS INTEGRITY ON THE LINE, HIS REPUTATION, AND HASN’T
LINE, HIS REPUTATION, AND HASN’T HE TESTIFIED IN THE MUELLER
HE TESTIFIED IN THE MUELLER REPORT TO THE TRUTH?
REPORT TO THE TRUTH? >> THE PLACE HE CARES ABOUT HIS
>> THE PLACE HE CARES ABOUT HIS REPUTATION IS WITH MITCH
REPUTATION IS WITH MITCH McCONNELL, THE REPUBLICAN
McCONNELL, THE REPUBLICAN ESTABLISHMENT AND NONE OF THOSE
ESTABLISHMENT AND NONE OF THOSE PEOPLE WANT TO SEE HIM BRING
PEOPLE WANT TO SEE HIM BRING DONALD TRUMP DONE.
DONALD TRUMP DONE. >> HE WOULD BE THE RARE FIGURE
>> HE WOULD BE THE RARE FIGURE BECAUSE HE HAS THOSE ALLIES WHO
BECAUSE HE HAS THOSE ALLIES WHO COULD SUSTAIN TELLING A FEW
COULD SUSTAIN TELLING A FEW MINUTES OF TRUTH OF THE GARBAGE
MINUTES OF TRUTH OF THE GARBAGE THAT WENT ON IN THE WEST WING.
THAT WENT ON IN THE WEST WING. HE ASKED TO WRITE A FOE ANY
HE ASKED TO WRITE A FOE ANY LETTER.
LETTER. >> HE MIGHT OR HE MIGHT BE AN
>> HE MIGHT OR HE MIGHT BE AN OUTCAST IN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY
OUTCAST IN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE.
FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE. LOOK WHAT HAPPENED TO JUSTIN
LOOK WHAT HAPPENED TO JUSTIN AMASH WHEN HE STOOD UP AND TOLD
AMASH WHEN HE STOOD UP AND TOLD THE TRUTH.
THE TRUTH. HIS DAYS AS A HERO OF THE
HIS DAYS AS A HERO OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY ARE PROBABLY
REPUBLICAN PARTY ARE PROBABLY OVER.
OVER. >> I WANT TO ASK ALL OF YOU

Trump Says He Never Asked McGahn to Fire Mueller

President’s tweet directly contradicts account in special counsel report

President Trump on Thursday said in a tweet that he had never asked then-White House counsel Don McGahn to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, directly contradicting a detailed account in Mr. Mueller’s report.

“As has been incorrectly reported by the Fake News Media, I never told then White House Counsel Don McGahn to fire Robert Mueller, even though I had the legal right to do so,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. “If I wanted to fire Mueller, I didn’t need McGahn to do it, I could have done it myself.”

The special counsel’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election said that Mr. Trump “called McGahn and directed him to have the Special Counsel removed.” The report, which the Justice Department released last week, relied on interviews that Mr. McGahn gave Mr. Mueller’s team in March 2018, after which Mr. Mueller concluded that “McGahn is a credible witness with no motive to lie or exaggerate given the position he held in the White House.”

Mr. Mueller also wrote the president “made clear” to his chief of staff and chief strategist at the time—Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon, respectively—that he was considering firing the special counsel. Both men spoke to the special counsel’s investigators. Mr. Trump declined to answer questions about obstruction of justice and declined to sit for an interview with Mr. Mueller.

Mr. Trump has long denied reports that he sought to have Mr. McGahn fire Mr. Mueller, telling reporters in January 2018 that it was “fake news.” He subsequently asked his White House counsel to publicly deny the reports, which Mr. McGahn refused to do, according to the Mueller report. The special counsel investigated that episode, among others, in seeking to determine whether the president obstructed justice.

In the week since the 448-page report was released to the public, Mr. Trump has gone from saying it exonerates him to attacking some findings as “total bullshit.” His comments Thursday marked his first effort to contradict a key part of the report that raised the question of obstruction.

.. After reports surfaced in January 2018 of Mr. Trump’s directive to Mr. McGahn, Mr. Trump publicly denied the conversation and sought to have his White House counsel do the same. According to the Mueller report, Mr. Trump sought to have aides including his personal lawyer, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders and former staff secretary Rob Porter ask Mr. McGahn to dispute the reports, at one point threatening to fire Mr. McGahn, according to Mr. Porter’s account to investigators.

In another instance recounted in the Mueller report, Mr. McGahn and the president met face-to-face in February 2018, where Mr. Trump asked him: “Did I say the word fire?” Mr. McGahn told the president that he had understood the conversation as “Call Rod. There are conflicts. Mueller has to go.” Mr. Trump then demanded to know why Mr. McGahn kept notes, saying, “I never had a lawyer who took notes.”

Advisers described the president’s response to the report in recent days as more impulsive than strategic, saying he was driven by media coverage of the report and its fallout rather than any plan to undermine the investigation. “He’s going to talk about it if it’s current and discussed and out there,” Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for the president, said in an interview. “He’s not if it’s not.”

Meanwhile, some of the president’s advisers have opted for a more muted response to the report. Mr. Trump’s lawyers had prepared a 30-page counter-report to Mr. Mueller’s document—whittled down from 150 pages originally—that they planned to release the day the report came out. One week later, they haven’t yet released it.

Sometimes, Aides Save a President From Himself

Trump-McGahn incident detailed in Mueller report shows presidents need staff around them who won’t just blindly do their bidding

When the history of the Trump administration is written, one moment in mid-2017 may be seen as decisive—a moment when a staff member saved the president from himself.

On June 17, according to the report by special counsel Robert Mueller released last week, the president called White House Counsel Don McGahn at home and ordered him to tell the Justice Department to fire Mr. Mueller, just as the special counsel’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election was getting under way. Mr. McGahn declined to carry out the order.

Then, about six months later, when word of the president’s attempt to fire the special counsel leaked out, Mr. Trump met with Mr. McGahn in the Oval Office and pressured him to deny the account publicly. Again, Mr. McGahn refused.

Had Mr. McGahn agreed to do what Mr. Trump wanted—to have Mr. Mueller fired and later create a false narrative about the effort—the case that the president had attempted to obstruct justice would have been much stronger. As it is, Mr. Mueller declined to say whether the president had or hadn’t obstructed justice; the Justice Department has decided there wasn’t sufficient evidence to show he did so; and Democratic leaders in Congress, much as they are under pressure from activists in the party to impeach Mr. Trump, are skeptical they have a case for doing so.

The Trump-McGahn exchanges point to an important, larger truth: Presidents need people around them who aren’t simply yes-men and yes-women who will blindly do their bidding. They need aides willing to take the tough step of challenging the leader of the free world. One key question is whether Mr. Trump still has enough of them around him.

Anybody who manages an organization recognizes—or should recognize—the need to have subordinates who can walk the fine line between being loyal and being willing to tell the president he or she is making a mistake. Playing that role as a staff member is particularly tough in the rarified air of the White House—and especially in this White House, where the boss has shown a penchant for lashing out at anyone seen as disloyal.

Yet history is replete with examples of the need to have White House aides willing to stand up to the boss. “That lesson cries out” from the Mueller report, says presidential historian Michael Beschloss.

President Richard Nixon, a mercurial man, was self-aware enough to recognize his need for such staff work. When he was preparing to take office, he wrote a memo to his chief of staff, H.R. Haldeman, specifically authorizing him to ignore orders that seemed impetuous or ordered in anger. “There may be times when you or others may determine that the action I have requested should not be taken,” Nixon wrote, according to a definitive biography by John A. Farrell. “I will accept such decisions but I must know about them.”

Mr. Haldeman and others acted accordingly, a practice that proved crucial as Nixon descended into depression amidst the Watergate crisis that ended his presidency. One Nixon aide recalled years later that the president, apparently drunk, encountered him in a White House hallway late at night during the opening phases of the 1973 Arab-Israeli war and seemed to order him to unleash an American bombing attack on Syria. The order was ignored, and apparently forgotten by the president the next day.

Aides to President Ronald Reagan were frequently excoriated by conservatives for failing to “let Reagan be Reagan” when they pushed back against presidential instincts. Yet Mr. Reagan always defended his staff’s right to do so, and disputed the idea that he was being badly served by strong aides.

In his memoir, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates recounts a bitter argument with President Obama over implementation of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that compelled military commanders to discharge or separate gays and lesbians from other troops if their sexual orientation became known. That policy was being disputed in the courts, and there was a movement in Congress to change the law. Mr. Obama wanted his defense chief to suspend implementation of the policy in the meantime.

Though he supported changing the law, Mr. Gates refused, arguing that existing law couldn’t simply be disregarded. Congress soon passed legislation changing the practice, which included a period to certify that a new policy could be implemented smoothly. It’s likely the change went down better with commanders because Mr. Gates had shown the need to abide strictly by law.

Mr. Trump also needs aides who will challenge him, as they have when he sought to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan and Syria, fire Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and blow up existing trade treaties. In the wake of the departure of Mr. McGahn last fall, as well as the exits of Chief of Staff John Kelly, economic adviser Gary Cohn, staff secretary Rob Porter, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and Defense Secretary James Mattis, the question is whether he has enough of them.

Kelly’s Exit Only a Part of Looming White House Staff Remake

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen could be next to depart

President Trump’s removal of John Kelly as his top aide is part of a rolling staff makeover that could soon result in the departure of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, White House officials and people close to the administration said.

..  When Mr. Trump and National Security Adviser John Bolton faulted her for not taking sufficiently bold steps to shore up the border, Mr. Kelly would defend Ms. Nielsen’s performance.
.. With Mr. Kelly on his way out, Ms. Nielsen is increasingly vulnerable. and department officials are bracing for a change, past and present administration officials said. “People there are waiting for the guillotine,”
A current department official said Ms. Nielsen wouldn’t resign, leaving it to the president to fire her. “She loves this,” the official said. “They’d have to drag her out of here.”
.. Having failed to lock in Mr. Ayers, Mr. Trump quizzed some of his advisers about potential candidates, people familiar with the conversations said. One person recommended Matthew Whitaker, now the acting attorney general. Mr. Trump said in reply that he liked Mr. Whitaker, who White House officials said is a viable candidate if not a favorite for the job.
.. Another candidate is Energy Secretary Rick Perry, a former Texas governor, people close to the White House said.  Over the weekend, a White House official said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin wasn’t in the running. But another White House official said Tuesday Mr. Mnuchin is being discussed internally as a potential candidate. His preference is to remain Treasury secretary, a person familiar with his thinking said.
.. Another corner of the White House that is in the midst of an overhaul is the White House counsel’s office, which has been hollowed out since the departure of Donald McGahn in October. The counsel’s office will be on the front lines of skirmishes with the new Democratic House majority
.. On Monday, Mr. McGahn’s successor, Washington attorney Pat Cipollone, started work and has been given a mandate to fortify an office that had dwindled to about 20 lawyers— half the number who were there in President Barack Obama’s White House.