WASHINGTON — Three White House officials who were mulling quitting their jobs are now planning to stay through the Supreme Court fight, according to a report on Sunday.
White House Counsel Don McGahn, as well as Legislative Affairs director Marc Short and Domestic Policy director Andrew Bremberg have told colleagues that they’ll remain in their positions through the process to confirm Justice Anthony Kennedy’s replacement, ABC News reported.
Kennedy announced his retirement on Wednesday, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) quickly saying on the Senate floor that Kennedy’s replacement would get a vote in the Senate “this fall” before the November election could change the makeup of the upper chamber.
Two White House officials told ABC that McGahn now plans to stick it out through those elections, after previously indicating he wanted to leave.
McGahn, whose team is handling the Supreme Court confirmation process, is largely credited for the swath of conservative judges now on the bench since Trump came into office.
“He’s excited for it. This is what he’s been working for all along,” a senior White House official told ABC.
McGahn’s rumored departure may have helped inspire Kennedy’s retirement, according to the New York Times, as the lawyer’s absence would have complicated the nomination fight, the retiring justice was told.
Short is expected to stay in his job until Oct. 1, ABC said.
He wouldn’t comment on exit rumors, but did provide the network with a timeline for the Supreme Court confirmation process.
“It’s kind of like a domino. In July we’ll be making sure the proper papers were assembled that senators will ask for, and then in August we’ll be consumed with individual meetings,” he told ABC, noting that there will be meetings between Trump’s pick and members of the Senate.
With McConnell canceling a planned summer recess, Short said he hoped that the nominee would get a hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee “by the end of summer.”
“We’re trying to aim to have the new court in place by Nov. 1,” Short said.
Bremberg had also told colleagues he planned to resign, ABC reported, but in recent days said he was leaning toward staying.
Trump plans to announce his Supreme Court pick on July 9.
The judge will come from a list of 25 names, already vetted by the right-leaning Federalist Society.
The confirmation fight is expected to be brutal because Democrats still upset that McConnell held late Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat open — ignoring former President Obama’s choice of Merrick Garland in March 2016 — so that it could be filled after the presidential election.
Trump announced his pick of Justice Neil Gorsuch several weeks into his tenure.
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