Top Justice Department officials and White House attorneys have threatened to test his efforts if then-President Donald Trump pursues an aggressive campaign against baseless claims of electoral fraud in his final days, according to a report from the upcoming Senate Judiciary Committee. Cancel the 2020 presidential election.
The New York Times released details of the first document late Wednesday, including the most detailed information about a Jan meeting in January where Trump fought top officials in hopes of appointing a loyalist as his acting attorney general. The plan was part of a concerted effort to retain power after losing to Joe Biden by more than a million votes, and came amid ongoing and false claims that widespread voter fraud had cost him the run.
White House lawyer Pat Cipolon described Trump’s efforts as a “murder-suicide deal” and threatened to resign along with his deputy, the Times reported. Trump later repented and did not follow the plan.
Interviews and documentation of several top DOJ officials, including Jeffrey Rosen, the acting attorney general in Trump’s office last month, Richard Donogu, Rosen’s deputy, and a former U.S. attorney in Atlanta, Bayung Pak.
The document includes more context about the role of Jeffrey Clark, a little-known Justice Department official who spoke several times with Trump about how to cast doubt on the election results. The Times previously reported that Trump pressured Clark to appoint him acting attorney general. But the Senate report adds details of Clarke’s attempt to reinforce false claims about the election, an example of which is where he pressured his officials to send a letter to Georgia officials, claiming there were “significant” concerns over the state’s election results.
The report also adds to the efforts of Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Scott Perry, who said in the document that he pressured Donogu to investigate false allegations of electoral fraud in the state. Biden beat Pennsylvania by a narrow margin.
It details Trump’s efforts to force Pak to resign and puts another loyalist in Atlanta who donated to his campaign. Georgia became the focal point of unfounded claims of voter fraud, while Biden also won in the state.
The interim report is expected to be released this week and comes amid a series of investigations into attempts to downplay Trump’s election results before the Jan Capitol uprising. The Senate Judiciary Committee’s report to the Times “shows the American people how close we are to the constitutional crisis.”
“Thanks to a number of advanced Americans in the judiciary, Donald Trump could not bend the department to his will,” Derbin added in a statement to the newspaper. “But it wasn’t due to a lack of effort.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee is still investigating Trump’s last week in office and is awaiting interviews with documents from the National Archives and others familiar with the election campaign.