US President Donald Trump leaves the White House in Washington, DC, USA on Tuesday, January 12, 2021.
Samuel Corum | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Former President Donald Trump has put high-level Justice Department officials under pressure to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election before leaving office, the House Oversight and Reform Committee said on Friday.
“Just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the R. Congressmen,” Trump said during a call on Dec. 27 with then Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and other DOJ officials.
Trump also suggested he consider replacing the agency’s leadership, according to handwritten notes from Richard Donoghue, the then acting assistant attorney general who participated in the call.
Donoghue’s report on the call shows that Trump “directly directed our nation’s chief law enforcement agency to take steps to overturn a free and fair election in the final days of his presidency,” said Regulatory Authority Chairman Carolyn Maloney, DN.Y. ., in a press release.
The House Committee has already started scheduling witness interviews “to investigate the full extent of the former president’s corruption,” Maloney said.
Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, DN.Y., speaks during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on DC statehood on Tuesday, February 11, 2020.
Caroline Brehman | CQ name call | Getty Images
Donoghue’s notes do not specify which Republican legislature Trump was referring to when allegedly instructing DOJ officials “leave the rest to me and the R. Congressman.” But, elsewhere on the call, Trump mentioned GOP reps Jim Jordan from Ohio and Scott Perry from Pennsylvania, as well as Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson.
The record also shows Rosen, who took over as acting head of the DOJ days earlier after William Barr resigned on Dec. 23, and Donoghue trying to inform Trump that his claims of widespread electoral fraud were not supported by evidence.
“Much of the information you are given is inaccurate,” the notes Trump was told said.
Later in the conversation, Trump claimed, “These people who say the elections are not corrupt are corrupt,” the notes read.
A Trump spokeswoman did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request to comment on the committee’s release.
Trump has never admitted defeat to Biden. After his loss, Trump aggressively spread a wide range of baseless conspiracy theories in support of the false claim that the elections were rigged against him.
His lawyers and allies filed dozens of lawsuits in key states, all aimed at undoing Biden’s victory. No one was able to reverse the votes or change the results of the state elections.
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Donoghue’s notes are just the latest material House investigators have held up as evidence of Trump’s efforts to rely on government institutions to contest his electoral defeat.
Last month, Maloney’s committee cleared a cache of more than 200 pages of email between DOJ officials and White House officials allegedly attempting to ask the Supreme Court to overturn major state election results.
Earlier this week, the DOJ announced to a number of former Trump administration officials that they would be able to work with House and Senate investigations into Trump’s election reversal efforts in the final months of his only term in office.
Maloney’s committee has sent letters to Rosen and Donoghue asking them to appear for transcribed interviews. The panel has also asked former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, former Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Clark, former Assistant Attorney General Patrick Hovakimian, former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia Byung Jin Pak, and former Acting U.S. Attorney General Prosecutor for interviewing District Bobby Christine.
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