Donald Trump has appointed Don McGahn, a former member of the Federal Election Commission and the Trump campaign’s counsel, as the White House Counsel.
The White House Counsel advises the President on all legal issues surrounding the administration.
Interestingly, the Washington Post has described McGahn as a “libertarian election lawyer”, quoting President Obama’s White House Counsel, Robert F. Bauer, as saying “it will be interesting to see how Don’s suspicion of government — his deep libertarianism — will affect his advice on questions of executive authority.”
Bauer then added, “and as somebody who has never shied away from a fight, he would not likely be a ‘yes man’ in this or any other aspect of the job.”
Ken Jones, a colleague of McGahn’s at the law firm Patton Boggs, concurred in a profile of McGahn for Newsweek: “I would never have characterized [McGahn] as a go-along, get-along guy.”
Forbes noted that McGahn used to work for Freedom Partners, a non-profit free market organization closely associated with the Koch brothers, who are well known for their libertarian-leaning political views.
The appointment of McGahn should serve as some consolation to those concerned about the future of civil liberties under the Trump administration. If Bauer and Jones are correct about McGahn, we should expect him to be unafraid of standing up for his principles of limited, constitutional government, even when challenged by the President.