Don McGahn, an Atlantic City native in President Trump's administration, has found himself in the middle of the controversy surrounding former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
McGahn, chief White House Counsel to President, was allegedly told by former U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates that Flynn was compromised by the Russian government and that he could be blackmailed, putting the administration at risk, according to numerous media reports
Flynn did not resign until 18 days later.
During an interview with Anderson Cooper that aired on CNN Tuesday night, Yates said she called McGahn on the morning of Jan. 26 and told him she needed to meet with him in person to discuss a “sensitive” issue that couldn’t be discussed over the phone.
Later that day, Yates came to the White House and told McGahn that Flynn had lied to the Vice President about discussions he had with Russian Ambassadors regarding sanctions on the country.
Yates said in the interview that she told McGahn that the Department of Justice was concerned about this and that she was giving him this information so that the White House could act.
Two people with strong ties to Atlantic County will play a major role in Donald Trump’s pres…
“Mr. McGahn got it,” she said. “He knew this was serious and it was important.”
The next day, Yates went back to the White House for another meeting with McGahn, where he allegedly asked her why the Department of Justice cares about one White House official lying to another White House official, according to the interview.
Yates said she told McGahn there was underlying evidence that Flynn could be blackmailed by the Russians.
A few days later, Yates was fired by Trump for not enforcing his “travel ban” executive order. Michael Flynn remained in the administration as National Security Advisor.
In an NBC News interview with Lester Holt last week, Trump said that McGahn didn’t make it seem like the Flynn issue was a big deal.
“Don McGahn came back to me… and he didn’t make it sound like an emergency,” Trump said. “[Yates] actually didn’t make it sound that way during [her testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee.]”
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has repeatedly categorized the meeting between Yates and McGahn as just a "heads up" from the justice department, and that it didn't warrant the immediate firing of Flynn.
Flynn resigned on Feb. 13 after a story in the Washington Post revealed that he lied to the Vice President about his contacts with Russia, 18 days after Yates came to the White House with concerns.
McGahn, a longtime Republican campaign lawyer and former commissioner at the Federal Election Commission, grew up in Atlantic City, attending Our Lady Star of the Sea school and Holy Spirit High School, where he played football.
His father, Donald Sr., worked for the federal government as a lawyer. His uncle, Patrick “Paddy” McGahn, worked closely with Trump in Atlantic City while he was building casinos.