President Donald Trump is leaning toward Emmet Flood to replace Don McGahn as White House counsel, but chief of staff John Kelly is urging him not to rush his decision, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
Citing "people familiar with the matter," the Journal disclosed that Trump told associates over the weekend he wanted Flood, a member of his personal legal team in the Russia investigation, to succeed McGahn after the Senate votes on the nomination of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Flood "wants autonomy to hire his own staff and freedom to restructure the office as he sees fit," the Journal reports, "according to people familiar with the matter."
"I want to be able to run the show," the Journal quoted one source as describing Flood's wishes.
But Kelly is encouraging Trump to move carefully on the decision, as the choice "monitors ethical matters throughout the administration, interprets laws for the executive branch, and is viewed as the chief legal protector for the office."
Trump has also told associates privately he wanted tough-minded lawyers who are "attentive to his interests," according to the report, though the White House counsel seeks to safeguard the overall interests of the presidency.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told the Journal the administration had "no announcements at this time."
Flood, 62, was a former partner at the Williams & Connolly during former Democratic President Bill Clinton's impeachment hearings in the 1990s.
He served in the White House counsel's office under President George W. Bush — and his cases included reviewing the president's controversial firings of seven U.S. attorneys.
Flood joined President Trump's personal legal team on the Moscow probe in May, succeeding the retiring Ty Cobb.
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