WASHINGTON – Former President Donald Trump, during his flagging weeks in office, urged the Justice Department to join in its failed efforts to overturn his electoral defeat on his false claims of electoral fraud, but its leaders refused, with one denouncing the “sheer madness” of the claims that showed documents released on Tuesday.
The recordings received by the House Oversight and Reform Committee provided new insights into the actions of the Republican former president as he tried to win the ministry over to comply with his demands. The documents showed a series of overtures by Trump, then White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and an outside private attorney, Kurt Olsen.
The ministry eventually did not join the effort, and numerous courts dismissed lawsuits seeking to overturn election results in various states.
Congress is also investigating the deadly January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters seeking to prevent the formal confirmation of Democratic President Joe Biden’s election victory.
“These documents show that President Trump tried to corrupt our nation’s chief law enforcement agency in a brazen attempt to overturn an election he lost,” said Democrat committee chairwoman Carolyn Maloney.
These actions were separate from the revelations the Trump-era Justice Department secretly sought https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-leaks-justice/us-justice-dept-to-strengthen -policies- on-getting-lawmakers-records-idUSKCN2DQ1I3 the telephone records of at least two democratic lawmakers.
The division, headed by outgoing Attorney General William Barr, who resigned on December 23, and his short-term successor Jeffrey Rosen, decided not to respond to false allegations of electoral fraud. Biden took office on January 20th.
The emails indicated that Meadows asked Justice Department officials to investigate an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory called “Italygate” which alleges US election dates in Italian facilities have been altered with the knowledge of the CIA.
On January 1, Meadows sent Rosen a link to a YouTube video detailing the theory. Rosen forwarded the email to then Assistant Attorney General Richard Donoghue, who replied, “Sheer madness.”
The documents also revealed that while Trump was serving as assistant attorney general, Rosen pressured him to let the department take up allegations of election fraud.
The emails showed that Rosen refused to arrange a meeting between Justice Department officials and Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani over his false claims that the November elections were stolen. Meadows had asked Rosen to arrange the scheduled meeting with Giuliani, the emails showed.
“I flatly refused, said I would not give Giuliani or one of his ‘witnesses’ any special treatment and reiterated that I will not speak to Giuliani about it,” Rosen wrote to a Justice Department colleague on January 1st
Giuliani had played a prominent role in promoting Trump’s false election claims.
Trump emailed Rosen through an assistant on Dec. 14 with documents allegedly containing evidence of electoral fraud in northern Michigan – a debunked claim that a federal judge had already dismissed.
Two weeks later, on December 29, Trump’s White House assistant emailed Rosen, who was acting attorney general at the time, and other Justice Department attorneys with a bill to file with the US Supreme Court.
The department never submitted the order. Emails released by the House Committee showed that Olsen, a Maryland attorney who helped write Trump’s draft letter, tried repeatedly to meet with Rosen but was unsuccessful.
The Trump-backed draft letter argued that changes the states of Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, Nevada and Pennsylvania made to voting procedures in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic to expand postal voting were illegal. Biden won all of these states.
Similar arguments were made in a lawsuit brought by Ken Paxton, the Texas Republican attorney general and an ally of Trump. The US Supreme Court dismissed this lengthy lawsuit in December.
Trump officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The document was released ahead of a House Oversight Committee hearing on the January 6 attack, which will include testimony from FBI Director Christopher Wray and General Charles Flynn, a senior Pentagon official who was involved in an important telephone conversation with police officers .
The general who commands the US Army Pacific is the brother of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who also promoted Trump’s electoral conspiracy theories.
Maloney said at the beginning of the hearing that the Pentagon’s response to the insurrection was “a shocking failure”.