Former President Trump's efforts to overturn election results late last year through pressure on Justice Department officials could be worse than initially thought, according to newly available documents and a New York Times report.
In a phone conversation with then Assistant Attorney General Richard P. Donoghue and former Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, Trump suggested declaring the election corrupt, despite there being no evidence of rampant fraud. This new one Information was released on Friday when the Oversight and Reform Committee released handwritten notes from Deputy Attorney General Donoghue documenting the conversation and providing assistance to Fill in the gaps regarding. the end Trump's efforts to overturn the election result.
The phone call in question took place on December 27, 2020 and essentially consisted of Donoghue and Rosen telling Trump that they could not change the election outcome in his favor. According to Donoghue's notes, Trump reportedly responded by saying, "Just say the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me and the (Republican) congressmen."
Despite the fact that Trump and other Republican politicians claimed election fraud and cultivated widespread suspicion for weeks, there is ultimately no support for their claims.
In fact, it was widely considered to be one of the safest elections in American history, as Vox's Jen Kirby reported shortly after the election.
“The November 3rd elections were the safest in American history. At the moment, election officials across the country are reviewing and reviewing the entire electoral process before finalizing the result, ”reads a joint statement from the Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (KAG).
The statement directly contradicts President Donald Trump, who made unfounded allegations of widespread electoral irregularities and fraud. The President is using these claims to challenge the vote count in several key states that gave President-elect Joe Biden his apparent victory on the electoral college.
Even so, Trump's attacks on the election result came quickly, even before the results were tabulated. They alleged poll workers hid suitcases with ballot papers and election officials tampered with a signature verification machine that is used when counting ballots.
Both claims have been refuted, but that hasn't stopped the Trump campaign and many supporters from taking their concerns to court in six states and instantly losing over 60 cases, including the Supreme Court. In response to complaints of illegal activity, Attorney General William P. Barr said in early December: "To date, we have not seen any fraud on a scale that could have resulted in a different election outcome."
Trump's claims of election fraud were inaccurate and unlawful
Trump was quick to claim during the Dec. 27 phone call that Results from the states of Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, and Arizona were "corrupt elections."
“We do our job. Much of the information you get is wrong, ”Donoghue said, stating the DOJ conducted“ dozens of investigations, hundreds of interviews ”and found the choice to be a solid one. Trump retaliated by asking about election fraud in Fulton County and other areas. Trump also claimed that the state of Michigan had a 68 percent margin of error in ballot counting, while the department found it was just 0.0063 percent. "We have a duty to tell people that this was an illegal corrupt election," Trump said, according to Donoghue's transcription.
Rosen eventually stepped in to explain the reality of the situation as well as the DOJ's limitations and asked Trump to "understand that the DOJ can't + snap their fingers + change the outcome of the election, that's not how it works."
But Trump didn't want to hear that. "People tell me Jeff Clark is great, I should put him in," Trump said, referring to the then Republican head of the Justice Department's civil division. “People want me to replace the leadership of the DOJ,” a less than subtle threat to Donoghue and Rosen's jobs in favor of Clark, who also urged Justice Department officials to intervene in the election results. "You should have the guidance you want," replied Donoghue.
Although it was well known that Trump labeled the election results as fraudulent everywhere from press conferences to Twitter, Donoghue's notes documenting the phone call are important due to the severity of Trump's requests.
On the release of the documents yesterday, Carolyn B. Maloney, Chair of the Oversight and Reform Committee, made a statement: "These handwritten notes show that President Trump has directed our nation's chief law enforcement agency to take steps to ensure a free one and fair election in the last days of his presidency. ”Also in the statement, Chairman Maloney said the committee intended to interview witnesses as part of a larger investigation into the president's“ corruption ”.
Justice Department decisions could undermine Trump's hopes of escaping accountability
This action is part of several recent efforts by the DOJ to investigate Trump's end-of-term conduct. As Maloney noted in her statement, the Department of Justice authorized this week to interview former officials who had worked under the Trump administration, including Donoghue and Rosen. Jeffrey Clark is also specifically asked about his involvement in plans to replace Rosen in order to advance his electoral fraud investigation.
DOJ officials have received permission from the department to "testify without restriction … as long as the testimony is limited to the scope of the interviews set by the committees." This is noteworthy as the committees before which officials will testify are investigating issues related to electoral fraud and election suspension as well as the January 6 attack on the Capitol.
This is not good news for Trump, especially given a second DOJ ruling regarding Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), who is allegedly indicted He helped instigate the Capitol Riots in a speech he gave to supporters on the morning of the uprising. Brooks countered that he was entitled to immunity for acting as a federal employee in the speech. However, Attorney General Merrick Garland refused to confirm this, making Brooks vulnerable. This can have an impact Trump, as he faces similar charges of incitement, and Garland's decision undermines Trump's expected defense of "executive privilege".
In addition to the former president's problems, the Justice Department released a memo on Friday asking the Treasury Department to turn Trump's tax returns to the House Means Committee.
“The Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee gave sufficient reasons to request the former President's tax information. The Treasury Department must provide the information to the committee, ”wrote Assistant Attorney General Dawn Johnsen.
Trump's refusal free his full Tax returns were seen as a strategy to keep his business affairs, namely those of his family business, the Trump Organization, private. Under that order, he is now required to provide this information to the committee, the main reason being to ensure that he has not taken advantage of US tax laws.