For weeks after the November election, Trump and Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, pressed acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen and top Department of Justice deputies to probe fanciful allegations of election fraud, according to the report.
Here are six key takeaways from the report:
In a late December phone call with Trump, Rosen was surprised when the president asked if he had ever heard of “a guy named Jeff Clark”. The inquiry seemed odd to Rosen; Clark did not work on matters related to elections, the report says.
Rosen would later find out that Clark, a little known justice department lawyer, had already met with Trump, an admission that left him “flabbergasted”, since Clark was his subordinate. 의 위에 28 December, 클락 emailed Rosen and Richard Donoghue, the principal associate deputy attorney general, with two requests. 먼저, he wanted them to authorize a briefing from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) “on foreign election interference issues”. Clark needed the briefing, according to the report, to assess an allegation that a “Dominion [voting] machine accessed the internet through a smart thermostat with a net connecting trail leading back to China”.
Clark also wanted the two top justice department officials to sign on to a letter to lawmakers in Georgia and other states announcing the justice department was probing election irregularities and urging them to convene special legislative sessions to consider alternate slates of electoral college electors. “There is no chance that I would sign this letter or anything remotely like this,” Donoghue wrote back. Rosen, Donoghue, and Clark all had a “heated” meeting that evening in which Rosen and Donoghue made it clear they would not sign.
Either on 31 December or 1 1 월, Clark told Rosen that Trump had inquired whether Clark would be willing to serve as acting attorney general if the president fired Rosen. Clark told Rosen he hadn’t yet decided, but wanted to do more “due diligence”, on election fraud claims.
며칠 후, he told Rosen and Donoghue that it would make it easier for him to turn down Trump’s offer if Rosen signed his letter. “He raised another thing that he might point to, that he might be able to say no [to the President], is if – that letter, if I reversed my position on the letter, which I was unwilling to do,” Rosen told the senate committee.
의 위에 3 1 월, 클락 told Rosen that Trump intended to appoint Clark the acting attorney general that day. That set off a scramble at the justice department, where Clark and Donoghue informed the heads of the department’s various divisions what was happening. They all agreed to resign if Trump followed through.
Rosen and Donoghue met with Trump in the Oval Office that evening. “One thing we know is you, Rosen, aren’t going to do anything to overturn the election,” Trump said to open the meeting, according to Rosen. Pat Cipollone, the White House counsel, described Clark’s letter as a “murder-suicide pact” and threatened to resign if Clark was appointed.
After a three-hour meeting, Trump ultimately decided not to fire Rosen.
One casualty of the 3 January meeting was Byung Jin Pak, who was then serving as the US attorney in Atlanta. During the meeting, Trump fumed that Pak had not uncovered evidence of election fraud and accused him of being a “never Trumper”. Trump instructed Donoghue to fire Pak. But Donoghue informed Trump that Pak intended to resign the next day. Cipollone advised Trump not to fire someone who was about to resign and Trump agreed to hold off.
There was a problem: Pak intended to stay in his role until inauguration day. That night, Donoghue called Pak and persuaded him to resign early.
Trump replaced Pak with Bobby Christine, another federal prosecutor in Georgia, bypassing a Pak deputy who was next in line to succeed him. Donoghue told the Senate panel he believed Trump wanted Christine because he would be more likely to investigate election irregularities.
의 위에 29 December, Meadows asked Rosen to look into a conspiracy theory known as “Italygate” that alleged satellites had flipped Trump votes for Biden. Days later, Meadows sent Rosen a YouTube video purporting to contain evidence to back up the “Italygate” theory. The same day, Meadows asked Rosen to connect with Clark about disproven allegations in Georgia. “Can you believe this?” Rosen wrote to Donoghue. “I am not going to respond.”
Meadows also asked Rosen to meet with Rudy Giuliani, then the president’s personal lawyer, a request Rosen rebuffed.
In late December, Trump asked the justice department to take the highly unusual step of filing an election lawsuit directly in the US Supreme Court. The suit would have asked the court to nullify Biden’s election victories in Pennsylvania, 그루지야, Michigan, 위스콘신, 애리조나, and Nevada.
The solicitor general’s office (OSG) and the office of legal counsel (OLC) prepared memos explaining why the department could not file a lawsuit. “Among other hurdles, OSG explained that DOJ could not file an original supreme court action for the benefit of a political candidate,” the senate report says.
A plain-English memo from OLC was more blunt. “[티]here is no legal basis to bring this lawsuit.”