Running interference for Brett Kavanaugh is only part of a broader strategy:
An exasperated President Trump picked up the phone to call the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, last Sunday. Tell the F.B.I. they can investigate anything, he told Mr. McGahn, because we need the critics to stop. Not so fast, Mr. McGahn said.
Mr. McGahn, according to people familiar with the conversation, told the president that even though the White House was facing a storm of condemnation for limiting the F.B.I. background check into sexual misconduct allegations against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, a wide-ranging inquiry like some Democrats were demanding — and Mr. Trump was suggesting — would be potentially disastrous for Judge Kavanaugh’s chances of confirmation to the Supreme Court.
Not to take away from Trump's disgusting and contemptible behavior during this fiasco, but this particular issue reveals the machinations behind the GOP's supposed "kow-towing" to the President. That is a façade, a way for them to get unethical things done while appearing to keep their hands clean. For almost two decades, Republican leaders have been pushing a mostly clandestine effort to entrench their power via corporate money and voter suppression, and Mitch McConnell's fingerprints are all over that:
McGahn was handpicked by then Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell for the FEC, recalls Ann M. Ravel, who served on the commission from 2013 to 2017. Once there, he quickly whipped Republicans into a solid voting bloc that nearly always opposed additional regulation, oversight, or even investigation. Because the FEC needs four of six commissioner votes to take any action, the net result was a completely broken agency, incapable of enforcing any election laws. “His entire tenure at the FEC was to decimate the ability of the commission to fulfill its job,” Ravel said. Adav Noti, the FEC’s former associate general counsel, said McGahn may have been the most influential FEC commissioner of the century.
It's important to keep in mind, McGhan wasn't a Trump "associate" who was brought into the White House, he's been a player in Republican shenanigans since before Bush 43 was elected. As lead counsel for the National Republican Congressional Committee for close to a decade, he worked hard to move corporate money around to build the GOP's majority:
There is a committee hearing in the Senate scheduled for May 21st to consider President Bush's latest slate of FEC nominees. And while the country needs an FEC in this election year that will be able to do its job, the committee should take a close look in particular at GOP operative Don McGahn, whoa New York Times editorial called a "Republican warhorse. "McGahn was in charge of ethics for the ethically dubious former House majority leader Rep. Tom Delay (R.-TX), and served as a high-ranking party official. He is a particularly partisan choice in an election year certain to be filled with highly charged enforcement decisions.
According to the Congressional Quarterly, McGahn was General Counsel to the National Republican Congressional Committee in October 2002, when the NRCC initiated a scheme to circumvent a new law banning soft money in federal elections, mere weeks prior to when the law would take effect. The plan involved a transfer of $1 million in soft money from the NRCC to the Leadership Forum, a surrogate group set up by House Republican leaders to spend soft money on the 2004 House races in violation of the new law. The $1 million was returned after the plan became public.
Despite its eagerness to seal the deal quickly, the Senate should fully investigate whether McGahn is an appropriate choice for an enforcement agency.
He didn't just live in the Swamp, McGahn was the Swamp's gatekeeper, making sure nobody came in there with any wild ideas about cleaning it up. Not that Trump ever actually intended to do that, but now you know why this guy is (currently) riding shotgun over the White House's legal stuff. I say "currently" because Trump has already announced he will be replacing McGahn, but for North Carolina's hopes to get some relief on gerrymandering, that dismissal is way too late: