Watergate had the Nixon tapes. Mueller had Annie Donaldson’s notes

By | May 3, 2019

The Washington Post reports:

The notes, scribbled rapidly on a legal pad, captured the fear inside the White House when President Trump raged over the Russia investigation and decreed he was firing the FBI director who led it: “Is this the beginning of the end?”

The angst-filled entry is part of a shorthand diary that chronicled the chaotic days in Trump’s West Wing, a trove that the special counsel report cited more than 65 times as part of the evidence that the president sought to blunt a criminal investigation bearing down on him.

The public airing of the notes — which document then-White House counsel Donald McGahn’s contemporaneous account of events and his fear that the president was engaged in legally risky conduct — has infuriated Trump.

“Watch out for people that take so-called ‘notes,’ when the notes never existed until needed,” Trump tweeted a day after the release of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report.

The scribe keeping track of the president’s actions was Annie Donaldson, McGahn’s chief of staff, a loyal and low-profile conservative lawyer who figures in the Mueller report as one of the most important narrators of internal White House turmoil.

Her daily habit of documenting conversations and meetings provided the special counsel’s office with its version of the Nixon White House tapes: a running account of the president’s actions, albeit in sentence fragments and concise descriptions. [Continue reading…]

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