News & Politics

Washingtonian Today: Don McGahn Isn’t Looking for a Book Deal

Photograph by Evy Mages

About Washingtonian Today

Washingtonian Today is not just another political news roundup. Instead, this daily morning brief provides local context on national news, catches you up on what’s happening at Washingtonian, points you toward super duper awesome things to do around town, and lets you in on some special events going on in-house. Sign up here to receive Washingtonian Today in your inbox every morning.

Good morning, and happy Monday.

Former White House counsel Don McGahn isn’t interested in a lucrative book advance, at least right now. McGahn told Robert Costa that he’s returning to the law firm Jones Day, where he’s “just going to practice law” adding: “No paid corporate speeches and no books, unlike some others who have worked in the White House.” In case you forgot, Andrew McCabe, Omarosa Manigault Newman, Anthony Scaramucci, H.R. McMasterJames Comey, and Sean Spicer are among the many former Trump administration officials with book deals.

Speaking of contracts…former Trump assistant turned right-wing commentator Sebastian Gorka is no longer a Fox News contributor. This news comes after Gorka’s banner weekend at CPAC, where he warned that Democrats are coming for your hamburgers, reportedly snitched on a journalist of whose coverage (and internet jokes) he was not a fan, and received a parking ticket on his famous Mustang.

I’m your author, Brittany Shepherd. Email me at and follow me on Twitter. Subscribe to the newsletter, and I promise to feed your meter for you.

Saturday was the occasion of the annual Gridiron dinner. I explained it to my parents as a beginners-improv graduation for politicians and journalists. I wasn’t in attendance, but NPR reported a scene that feels like a fever dream from 2016: “As the show wrapped up, CNN’s Jake Tapper and Bret Baier of Fox News wore powdered wigs (though it was unclear from a distance if they were, in reality, truly powdered) and made a valiant effort at a number from the hit musical Hamilton.” I’m not so sure if that show is going to make it out of previews.

What’s on my mind: #Resistance retailers are really leaning into the “Michael Cohen is our hero” thing. I recently spotted a mug for sale on Etsy which reads “I acted loyal to a man when I should not have” which, to be fair, is a slogan I would own on a cross-stitch or something. 

What we have cooking at Washingtonian:

Our pick for things to do around town:

BOOKS Author Elaine Shannon’s newest book, Hunting LeRoux: The Inside Story of the DEA Takedown of a Criminal Genius and His Empire, details the true story of cartel boss Paul Calder LeRoux, who successfully sold millions of dollars in weapons and drugs using encryption and digital tools before being caught by the DEA. Shannon will speak at Politics & Prose with Washington Post columnist Karen Tumulty. Free, 7 PM.

Good reads:

Roxane Gay was posed with the ever-present question: Can I enjoy the art without the artist? She offers wonderful insight in this Marie Claire story, which I think can be applied to the journalism industry as well: “We can no longer worship at the altar of creative genius while ignoring the price all too often paid for that genius. In truth, we should have learned this lesson long ago, but we have a cultural fascination with creative and powerful men who are also “mercurial” or “volatile,” with men who behave badly.” (Marie Claire)

Big events from Washingtonian:

Do you really love the Sedgwick pizza from All Purpose? Love the colorists at Immortal Beloved? Our annual readers poll is now live–take it and let us know your favorite things in Washington. You could win two tickets to our fabulous Best of Washington party in June.

Staff Writer

Brittany Shepherd covers the societal and cultural scene in political Washington. Before joining Washingtonian as a staff writer in 2018, Brittany was a White House Correspondent for Independent Journal Review. While she has lived in DC for a number of years now, she still yearns for the fresh Long Island bagels of home. Find her on Twitter, often prattling on about Frasier.