Trump Urged JD to Declare Vote Corrupt 07/31 10:06
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump urged senior Justice Department
officials to declare the results of the 2020 election "corrupt" in a December
phone call, according to handwritten notes from one of the participants in the
"Just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the R.
Congressmen," Trump said at one point to then-Acting Attorney General Jeffrey
Rosen, according to notes taken by Richard Donoghue, who was then Rosen's
deputy and who was also on the call.
The notes of the Dec. 27 call, released Friday by the House Oversight
Committee, underscore the lengths to which Trump went to try to overturn the
results of the election and to elicit the support of senior government
officials in that effort. Emails released last month show Trump and his allies
in the last weeks of his presidency pressured the Justice Department to
investigate unsubstantiated claims of widespread election fraud, forwarding
them conspiracy theories and even a draft legal brief they hoped would be filed
with the Supreme Court.
The pressure is all the more notable because just weeks earlier, Trump's own
attorney general William Barr, revealed that the Justice Department had found
no evidence of widespread fraud that could have overturned the results.
Unsubstantiated claims of fraud have been repeatedly rejected by judge after
judge, including by Trump appointees, and by election officials across the
"These handwritten notes show that President Trump directly instructed our
nation's top law enforcement agency to take steps to overturn a free and fair
election in the final days of his presidency," committee chairman Rep. Carolyn
Maloney, a New York Democrat, said in a statement.
She said the committee had begun scheduling interviews with witnesses as
part of its investigation into Trump's effort to overturn the results. The
Justice Department earlier this week authorized six witnesses, including Rosen
and Donoghue, to appear before the panel and provide "unrestricted testimony,"
citing the public interest in the "extraordinary events" of those final weeks.
The Dec. 27 call took place just days after Barr had resigned, leaving Rosen
in charge of the department during a turbulent final weeks of the
administration that also included the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol in which
pro-Trump loyalists stormed the building as Congress was gathered to certify
the election results.
During the call, according to the notes, Trump complained that people were
"angry" and blaming the Justice Department for "inaction" and said that "We
have an obligation to tell people that this was an illegal, corrupt election."
He claimed the department had failed to respond to legitimate complaints and
reports of election-related crime.
The Justice Department officials told Trump that the department had been
investigating, including through hundreds of interviews, but that the
allegations were not supported by evidence. They said that much of the
information the president was getting was "false," according to Donoghue's
At one point in the conversation, the notes show, Rosen told Trump that the
Justice Department "can't + won't snap its fingers + change the outcome of the
election, doesn't work that way."
Trump responded by saying: "Don't expect you to do that, just say that the
election was corrupt + leave the rest to me and the R. Congressmen," according
to the notes.
Trump mused during the call about replacing Justice Department leadership
with Jeffrey Clark, the then-assistant attorney general of the Environment and
Natural Resources Division who also served as the acting head of the Civil
Division. Donoghue replied that such a move would not change the department's
After The New York Times reported that Trump had been contemplating a plan
to replace Rosen with Clark, the inspector general announced that it would
investigate whether any former or current department officials "engaged in an
improper attempt" to overturn the results of the presidential election.