When McGahn was hired as White House counsel, he was known largely as a campaign finance expert and not necessarily deeply versed in the kind of law that White House officials face every day. But he had advised Trump’s campaign while working at the Jones Day law firm and Trump saw him as a scrappy lawyer on the campaign trail.
Friends say McGahn probably appealed to the president with his get-to-the-point style.
.. McGahn, particularly in the early months of the administration, cautioned Trump about contacting Justice Department officials and even told associates he was concerned Trump was doing so without his knowledge. The two men would have “spectacular” fights, according to a person who witnessed some of them.
.. McGahn’s value to Trump has been most apparent in the role he played in helping select Neil M. Gorsuch as Trump’s Supreme Court nominee as well as with the numerous candidates who have now been confirmed for federal court judgeships across the country. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) often praises McGahn to Trump and tells the president his top lawyer is shaping his legacy on judges in a positive way — words Trump likes hearing.
.. “Good lawyers try not to abandon their clients,” the person close to McGahn said. “And the client isn’t Trump; it’s the presidency.”
Francisco had originally been named as the No. 2 in the solicitor general’s office, which represents the federal government in appellate courts. He might be best known as the lawyer who represented former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell last year when the Supreme Court unanimously overturned McDonnell’s conviction on corruption charges.
.. The solicitor general is considered to be one of the nation’s best legal jobs, and the occupant is often referred to as the “10th justice.
.. Jeffrey B. Wall, a veteran of the office who now works for the firm Sullivan & Cromwell, will assume Francisco’s role as principal deputy.
.. representatives of the Trump transition approached U.S. Circuit Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit — an influential judicial voice on the right — to see whether he would be interested in the job.
.. For a time, there appeared to be two front-runners. One was George T. Conway III, a New York lawyer who received high marks from those in the Supreme Court bar and who is also married to Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway.
.. The other was Charles Cooper, a Washington legal fixture and confidant of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
.. Cooper pulled out of consideration, and the Trump administration expanded its search.
.. he has had to recuse himself from some of the most important cases, such as the legal battle over Trump’s first travel ban executive order, because his law firm Jones Day represented parties in the dispute.
.. Francisco is a former clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia
.. Francisco was part of the team that represented President George W. Bush in the 2000 Florida presidential election recount.
.. He was raised in Oswego, N.Y., and both his undergraduate and law degrees are from the University of Chicago... he represented religiously affiliated organizations that said providing contraception services for their female employees would implicate them in sin.
Francisco was a partner at Jones Day, which Bloomberg Businessweek has called“Trump’s favorite law firm.” The outlet reported in March that at least 14 lawyers from the firm had joined the Trump administration or had been nominated to do so, including Don McGahn, the White House counsel.
.. lawyers from “Trump’s favorite” firm contributed only $7,422 to Trump’s campaign, compared to $267,899 to Hillary Clinton’s.
.. Francisco also is an expert at the Federalist Society, a group of conservative and libertarians in the legal world. The executive vice president, Leonard Leo, is said to have secured the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court. Gorsuch and FBI Director Christopher Wray also are listed as experts there. Francisco has donated thousands of dollars to federal election candidates, all Republicans, though not to Trump.
.. Ted Cruz, who once worked with Francisco at the law firm Cooper & Kirk. “He’s a brilliant lawyer & a principled conservative.”