The Fix’s Aaron Blake has written that there are ways Democrats can get new information out of him. But parts of Wednesday’s hearing will be dry and insidery. That’s just the nature of the report, which relied on the testimony of some not-household names in President Trump’s orbit.
With that in mind, here’s a quick rundown of who’s likely to come up in the Mueller hearing.
Donald McGahn: He is Trump’s former White House counsel. And he’s one of the most prominent players in the Mueller report.
Corey Lewandowski: He was Trump’s first campaign manager. The Mueller report says the president gave him a message to give to the attorney general (then Jeff Sessions) to say that Mueller’s investigation should be limited to “future election interference” — i.e., nothing to do with the Trump campaign or its connections to Russia. Democrats are expected to have Mueller highlight this moment.
Michael Cohen: Trump’s former lawyer and fixer who turned on him and testified that the president led him to lie about several potentially damaging things during the campaign: whether Trump was seeking to build a Trump Tower in Moscow as well as whether Trump was involved in paying illegal hush money to women accusing him of affairs. Cohen is in prison on charges stemming from the Mueller investigation.
Paul Manafort: Trump’s former campaign chairman, also now in prison on charges related to the Mueller investigation. Trump tweeted that Manafort was “refusing to break” against Mueller, raising questions of whether the president was signaling he would pardon him.
Michael Flynn: Trump’s former national security adviser, who pleaded guilty in the course of the Mueller investigation to lying to the FBI. The Mueller report details how Trump tried to get the FBI to go easy on Flynn, calling him a “good guy” — conversations that the bureau’s then-director, James B. Comey, later testified to Congress made him feel the president was obstructing his probe.
Annie Donaldson: She was a little-known White House aide who took copious amounts of notes on some of the interactions described above. The Mueller investigation seized them, and they were cited more than 65 times in the report.
Christopher Steele: Now we get to names that you can expect Republicans to talk about. Steele is a British former spy who was hired by an opposition research firm to look into Trump during the 2016 campaign. The firm was originally commissioned by a conservative website, but Steele’s work took shape when Democrats started funding the research after Trump won the GOP nomination.
Steele wrote a dossier that includes accusations that Trump worked with Russia. He ended up alerting the FBI about those. Trump allies try to argue that Steele is the reason the whole Mueller investigation got started. But that’s not accurate.
George Papadopoulos: A former Trump campaign aide who also pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. We now know that the FBI started looking into Trump-Russia connections because Papadopoulos claimed to his contacts that Russians had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton — “thousands of emails.” That got passed back to the FBI, which launched its investigation.
Lisa Page and Peter Strzok: Two former FBI officials who texted about their disdain for Trump during the campaign, even as Strzok, in particular, was working on key Trump-related investigations. The two have since been fired or demoted, but Trump and his GOP allies like to hold them up to accuse the FBI of having political motivations in investigating Trump, and thus to undercut the whole Mueller report.