The second-in-command at the Department of Justice under former President Donald Trump appeared before the House panel investing the events surrounding the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, Politico reported.
Richard Donoghue, who served as the acting U.S. Deputy attorney general from December 2020 to January 2021, attended a closed-door hearing Friday with Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s partisan select committee, two sources told Politico.
Donoghue’s interview was among the panel’s first, and comes as investigators ramp up their probe. His tenure has drawn scrutiny from lawmakers as they explore Trump’s attempts to pressure the department to interfere in the 2020 election.
Politico said that a spokesperson for the panel declined to comment, and a lawyer representing Donoghue had not responded to a request for comment.
Committee Chair Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., mentioned the start of the panel’s closed-door interviews on Friday.
“We are questioning some of the voluntary witnesses today, and we’ll continue that process. We’ll have other subpoenas scheduled to come out, and we’ll continue to do our work,” Thompson told reporters.
Some of Trump’s closest aides and advisers have been given until Thursday to give the committee documents related to the attack. Failure to comply could result in “criminal referrals,” Thompson said.
Donoghue previously appeared in a closed-door interview at the beginning of August with the Senate Judiciary Committee investigating the aftermath of the 2020 election.
Politico reported that Donoghue took detailed notes on a Dec. 27 call between Trump and then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen in which the former president had pressured Justice Department officials to call the 2020 election “corrupt” and “illegal.”
Patrick Hovakimian, chief of staff to Rosen, became so concerned Trump might fire Rosen in early January that he drafted a memo announcing both he and Donoghue would resign in response, Politico said.
On Sept. 29, the Associated Press reported the House panel issued its first subpoenas, demanding records and testimony from four of Trump’s closest advisers and associates, including those who were in contact with him before the attack or on the day of it.
Thompson announced the subpoenas of former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, former White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications Dan Scavino, former Defense Department official Kash Patel, and former Trump adviser Steve Bannon.