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.
“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.
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.
“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.
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.
Original reporting by Katelyn Polantz and Zachary Cohen at CNN.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.