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Senate issues sweeping new report highlighting nine times Trump tried to overthrow 2020 election

Senate issues sweeping new report highlighting nine times Trump tried to overthrow 2020 election

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The Senate Judiciary Committee calls it as it sees it, so the report they issued today — summarizing their investigations into how disgraced former President Donald Trump and a top lawyer in the Justice Department attempted to overturn the 2020 presidential election — was entitled “Subverting Justice.”

Based on witness interviews of top former Justice Department officials, the report determines that Trump directly asked the Justice Department nine times to fight the election result.  It also finds that his chief of staff, Mark Meadows, defied administration policy by pressuring a Justice Department lawyer to open an investigation into Trump’s claims of election fraud.

The Judiciary Committee report confirms that Pat Cipollone, the White House counsel during Trump’s lame duck period, threatened to resign if the defeated ex-president replaced the then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen with Jeffrey Clark, a Justice Department lawyer who supported election fraud conspiracies.
The report, largely written by the majority Democrats on the Judiciary Committee after their eight-month investigation, describes the actions of Trump and his top advisers as they attempted to burnish their false conspiracies of election fraud through the Justice Department as an abuse of presidential power.
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the senior GOP member of the committee, disagreed with the findings of the majority Democrats. In a separate report issued immediately after the Committee released its official findings, Grassley defended Trump, saying he “listened to his senior advisors and followed their advice and recommendations.”
Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL) told CNN’s “New Day” that the US was a “half a step away from a constitutional crisis, a full-blown constitutional crisis” and explained how the events unfolded in three phases.
“First phase, Trump goes to court. Loses every lawsuit, which claims there was voter fraud in the election. Next, he decides he has to take over the Department of Justice and the attorney general, and have the attorney general push this narrative on to the states to tell them to stop from sending in their Electoral College vote totals. When that failed — and our report goes into graphic detail of the efforts that were made — the third step was to turn the mob loose on the Capitol the day we were counting the ballots,” Durbin said, referring to the January 6 insurrection.
The report condemns the actions of Jeffrey Clark, who it says became an important chess piece in Trump’s scheme to use the Justice Department for his own political gain.
Clark may now be regretting his involvement since the Judiciary Committee announced today that it would be asking the Washington DC bar to review his actions and evaluate his professional conduct, citing rules that prohibit attorneys from assisting in fraud and interfering with the administration of justice.
Clark may also be subject to criminal penalties once the Judiciary Committee completes their investigation.
According to CNN‘s account of the committee report:
Clark had pushed Rosen and Richard Donoghue, then the second-in-command at the Justice Department, to use the Justice Department to announce election fraud investigations and ask state leaders in Georgia to appoint electors, potentially disregarding the certified popular vote. Clark began making the pitch in late December after speaking with Trump directly, the committee found.
The committee report indicates that Clark may have had help from “lower-level allies” inside the Justice Department and that he tried to negotiate with Rosen on his plan, saying that he would reject the chance to replace him in his job if Rosen would agree to implement his Georgia elector plan.
“Clark’s proposal to wield DOJ’s power to override the already-certified popular vote reflected a stunning distortion of DOJ’s authority: DOJ protects ballot access and ballot integrity, but has no role in determining which candidate won a particular election,” the committee reported.
According to CNN:
The series of interactions between the President and Rosen and Donoghue began in mid-December with an Oval Office meeting, included several phone calls and continued through January 3. In multiple calls, Trump claimed there was election fraud in Pennsylvania and Arizona — both states he lost — telling Rosen “people are saying” and asking the Justice Department to look into the rumors, according to the committee.
Trump also told the DOJ leadership, “You guys aren’t following the internet the way I do,” according to both Donoghue and Rosen.
Rosen told the President the department “can’t and won’t just flip a switch and change the election.” That prompted Trump to simply ask for an official Justice announcement that the election was corrupt and then “leave the rest to me and the [Republican] Congressmen,” the committee report noted.
While Trump eventually decided that replacing his acting Attorney General would be too risky to attempt, his decision was likely motivated by the threat that White House counsel Pat Cipollone and others on his staff would resign, in an echo of Richard Nixon’s final days in office.
You can read the remainder of CNN’s account of the Oval Office scheming to overturn the presidential election here.

Original reporting by Katelyn Polantz and Zachary Cohen at CNN.

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