The House Judiciary Committee on Monday announced a tentative agreement to question a former White House lawyer whose written notes provided key evidence to Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation of Russia interference in the 2016 election.
The panel announced that Annie Donaldson, the former chief of staff to onetime White House counsel Donald McGahn, has agreed to provide the panel with written answers to questions. She will also appear for testimony after Nov. 1.
The panel, which subpoenaed Donaldson to appear on Monday, granted the delay because the former staffer no longer lives in the Washington area and is in her third trimester of pregnancy, limiting her ability to travel.
“Ms. Donaldson had a front-row seat to many of the instances outlined in the Mueller Report dealing with President Trump’s alleged obstruction of justice and other abuses of power, which is why she is a key witness for the committee in our ongoing work to hold the president, his associates, and members of his administration accountable,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.). “We look forward to hearing from Ms. Donaldson and reviewing her written testimony.”
It is unclear how many questions Donaldson will be able to answer, however. The White House has moved to block her former boss, McGahn, as well as former Trump aide Hope Hicks from testifying about their time serving in the West Wing. The panel has decided to take McGahn to civil court to try to force him to comply with their subpoena, arguing the White House assertion of executive privilege over his testimony doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.
Hicks appeared last week and answered questions from the committee, but she would only speak about things that happened during the campaign — not her time working in the White House.
Likewise, the White House is likely to try to stop Donaldson from talking about her time working in the administration.
CNN first reported on the developments over the weekend.
Democratic investigators have been keenly interested in speaking with Donaldson because she took notes directly from McGahn as he left discussions with Trump, documenting how he railed against and sought to control a criminal investigation that he felt imperiled his presidency, according to the former special counsel’s report.
McGahn was also a central witness on several instances of potential obstruction of justice mentioned in the Mueller report.