Senate report details Trump's efforts to use Justice Dept. to overturn 2020 election

President Donald Trump speaks in the Diplomatic Room of the White House on November 26, 2020. File Photo by Erin Schaff/UPI
1 of 5 | President Donald Trump speaks in the Diplomatic Room of the White House on November 26, 2020. File Photo by Erin Schaff/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 7 (UPI) -- Democrats on the Senate judiciary committee released a report on Thursday that reveals more details about how former President Donald Trump tried to use the Justice Department and other government officials to invalidate the 2020 presidential election.

The panel's Democratic majority highlighted a number of Trump's actions in the report, including efforts to get Justice Department officials to declare the election "corrupt" in a fierce bid to stay in the White House.


Trump's efforts did not succeed, but Thursday's report notes that his attempts provoked a near revolt in the department among officials who pushed back against the former president's false claims of fraud.

"In attempting to enlist [the Justice Department] for personal, political purposes in an effort to maintain his hold on the White House, Trump grossly abused the power of the presidency," the near 400-page report states.


"He also arguably violated the criminal provisions of the Hatch Act, which prevents any person -- including the president -- from commanding federal government employees to engage in political activity."

The assessment notes that Trump sought to replace then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen with Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Clark, a loyalist to the president. Trump sought to have Clark push claims of widespread voter fraud.

The report says that on Jan. 3, Rosen, his deputy Richard Donoghue and others met with Trump in the Oval Office to dissuade him from the idea, threatening to resign if it moved forward. White House counsel Pat Cipollone and his deputy also threatened to resign if Trump insisted on the plot.

Clark told Rosen in an earlier meeting that Trump had already decided to make him the next U.S. attorney general, and he wanted Rosen to stay on as a deputy, which led to the confrontational meeting with Trump, the report says.

Donoghue told Trump that his actions would lead to a mass resignation that would include assistant attorneys general throughout the department along with other department officials.

One point of contention noted by the report was a letter that Clark and Trump wanted to send to Georgia elections officials that complained of voting "irregularities" and pushed for the state legislature get involved.


Clark wanted to send the same letter to all states where Trump-loyal Republicans were challenging the results.

Cipollone called the letter a "murder-suicide pact" and promised that he'd resign as well.

The report also details a plan by Trump to pressure the department into filing a complaint with the U.S. Supreme Court on the chance that it could overturn the election results.

Numerous legal challenges and recounts followed the election last fall and none of them produced any indication of widespread voter fraud. Some, in fact, only widened then-Democratic candidate Joe Biden's margin of victory.

The judiciary committee's Republican members issued a report of their own, which downplays Trump's actions to throw out Biden's electoral victory.

The Republicans' report said Trump never went through with his plans and showed in the end that he acted within the laws of the executive branch.

"The available facts and evidence show that President Trump listened to his senior DOJ and White House advisers at every step of the fact pattern presented by this investigation and that he did not weaponize DOJ for his personal or campaign purposes," they wrote.

"The president's concerns centered on what he perceived as an attack on the electoral system and his firm belief that the American people had been wronged by election fraud that undermined the sanctity of the 2020 election. With these concerns in hand, President Trump's approach to DOJ was to ensure that it was aware of election fraud allegations and that, with knowledge of those allegations, they were actually doing their job to investigate them."


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