Donald Trump’s bid to overturn the 2020 election was thwarted at the last minute in part due to the resistance of some of his top legal officials, who threatened to quit during a tense meeting at the White House. The Oval Office, a congressional committee said.
Three of the former president’s most senior lawyers testified Thursday before a bipartisan panel investigating last year’s attack on the U.S. Capitol, offering their recollections of the last days of the United States. Trump administration.
The hearing focused on Trump’s campaign to pressure the Justice Department to support his false allegations of voter fraud, which the three men say failed only because they threatened threatened to give up en masse. The committee also revealed that after the plot failed, some of Trump’s allies asked for the president’s pardon.
“We are indebted to these men,” said Adam Kinzinger, one of the two Republican members of the committee. . . They threaten to resign rather than damage our democracy. And thanks in large part to each of them, President Trump’s coup failed.”
Regarding pardons, Kinzinger added: “The only reason I know of to ask for a pardon is because you think you’ve committed a crime.”
The committee held five televised hearings setting out the findings of an investigation into the events that occurred on January 6, 2021, when a mob of Trump supporters stormed the US Congress in an attempt to prevent Joe Biden from being declared president.
Thursday’s hearing was one of the most dramatic to date, thanks in large part to a detailed account of a tense meeting between Trump and some of his most senior legal officials on President Donald Trump. January 3rd birthday.
Three of those who attended that meeting – Jeffrey Rosen, former acting attorney general; Richard Donoghue, who was his deputy; and Steve Engel, one of the president’s legal advisers – testified before the committee.
They described how they sought to meet after Jeffrey Clark, an official at the justice department, told Rosen that Trump planned to appoint him in place of Rosen. Rosen was particularly worried about the plan, he said, because Clark had been trying to convince his bosses to send a letter to the countries Biden won telling them the DoJ had “significant concerns.” about the vote.
In the hours that followed, they secured promises from almost every assistant attorney general that they would quit if Trump pushed ahead with his plan. That evening, they went to the White House to confront both Trump and Clark with the warning that firing Rosen would backfire heavily on the president.
According to Engel, Pat Cipollone, another White House attorney, told Trump during that meeting that his plan was “a murder-suicide pact.” Engel himself told Trump that if Clark were appointed attorney general, there would be so many resignations that he “would be left in a graveyard”.
Before the meeting, Donoghue told the committee he had repeatedly told Trump his claims about voter fraud were untrue. He added that at one point he told the former chairman that the DoJ could not overturn the outcome of an election, and the president replied, “That’s not what I’m asking you to do.
“All I’m just asking you to do is just say it’s corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican Congress.”
Clark’s role in the effort to overturn the election was of particular interest to the committee. Just before the hearing began, federal agents raided his home.
Russ Vought, head of the Center for American Innovation, where Clark works, said in a statement: “Yesterday, more than a dozen DoJ law enforcement officials searched Jeff Clark’s home during an investigation. raid before dawn, take him out into the street in his pajamas, and take his electronic devices. All because Jeff saw fit to investigate voter fraud.”
When Trump’s plot ultimately failed, the committee heard, many of those closest to him subsequently sought pardon. Several witnesses allege the effort was led by Matt Gaetz, a Republican member of Congress.
Eric Herschmann, another former Trump attorney, said Gaetz, who was later under federal investigation for child sex traffickingsought an amnesty “from the beginning to this day, for any and everything”.
Other Republican members of Congress who have expressed interest in the pardon include Mo Brooks, Andy Biggs, Louie Gohmert and Scott Perry, the committee said.