January 6 panel to highlight infighting within the US Department of Justice over Trump’s election claims

The January 6 committee will hear from former US Justice Department officials who faced a relentless pressure campaign from Donald Trump over the results of the 2020 presidential election while suppressing a rare challenge from within their own ranks.

The hearing is the fifth this month by the committee investigating the lead-up to the insurrection at the US Capitol, when Trump loyalists stormed the building as lawmakers certified the results of the election won by Joe Biden. Witnesses included police officers attacked on Capitol Hill, as well as lawyers, a television executive and local election officials who resisted demands to alter the results in Trump’s favor.

Thursday’s hearing will draw attention to a memorably turbulent stretch in the department, as Trump in his final days in office sought to bend to his will a law enforcement agency that has long prized its independence from the White House. The testimony is intended to show how Trump not only relied on outside advisers to press his claims of voter fraud, but also tried to take advantage of the powers of federal executive branch agencies.

Witnesses will include Jeffrey Rosen, who was acting attorney general during the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on Capitol Hill. Three days earlier, Rosen was part of a tense standoff in the Oval Office in which Trump contemplated replacing him with a lesser official. level, Jeffrey Clark, who wanted to defend Trump’s false claims of voter fraud.

CLOCK | Highlights from the previous session held by the committee on January 6:

Panel Unveils Video on Trump Plan for ‘Fake Voters’

The committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack showed a video containing testimonials of Donald Trump’s plan for “fake voters” to replace those expected to vote for Joe Biden.

Stolen Election View Is ‘Wrong’: Former Acting Prosecutor

In a written statement prepared for the committee and obtained by The Associated Press, Rosen says the Justice Department was not presented with evidence of fraud that could have affected the outcome of the election and therefore was not involved in any efforts to the Trump campaign to overturn the decision. results, insisting instead on an orderly transfer of power.

“Some argued to the former president and the public that the election was corrupt and stolen,” Rosen’s statement says. “That view was wrong then and it is wrong today, and I hope that our presence here today will help reaffirm that fact.”

CLOCK | The disciplined committee has presented a coherent narrative: David Frum:

Trump had a plan to nullify the election ‘first with fraud and then with violence’: Frum

“[Trump] he had a plan to nullify the election, first for fraud and then for violence,” David Frum of The Atlantic said of what the January 6 committee hearings have revealed so far. “January 6 is the explosion at the end of a long fuel trail. material.”

Two other former department officials, Rosen’s top deputy Richard Donoghue and Steven Engel, are also scheduled to testify. Both warned Trump at the White House meeting that they would resign and that many of the department’s lawyers would follow him if he replaced Rosen with Clark.

Only then did Trump relent. The night, and later his administration, ended with Rosen still on his job.

Clark was previously subpoenaed by the committee to give a statement, but will not be among the witnesses on Thursday.

A report released last year by the Senate Judiciary Committee that described Clark as a relentless supporter of Trump included a draft letter urging Georgia officials to call a special legislative session to reconsider the election results.

Clark wanted the letter sent, but Justice Department superiors refused.

Clark was introduced to Trump by Pennsylvania Congressman Scott Perry, whose actions after the election have drawn scrutiny from the committee. Committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney, also a Republican, said at the first hearing this month that Perry “reached out to the White House in the weeks after January 6 to seek a presidential pardon.”

Meanwhile, Rosen took over as acting attorney general after William Barr resigned in December 2020. Last week, the committee released videotaped statements from Barr, who criticized Trump’s fraud claims as “nonsense,” fake” and “idiotic”.

The panel receives new and potentially relevant information

Over the past year, the committee has been investigating the violence on Capitol Hill and its causes, interviewing more than 1,000 witnesses and producing some 140,000 documents.

The committee was scheduled to conclude this first round of public hearings in June. But additional information has come to the committee’s attention, panel members said Wednesday, and with Congress scheduled to recess for two weeks, hearings will continue into the summer.

“We have a new documentary on a person we’re talking to and we need to go through all of his information,” committee chairman Bennie Thompson said.

front burner25:35The January 6 case against Donald Trump

Did Donald Trump break the law in his attempt to stay in power after 2020? That is what the House committee on January 6 is trying to prove, with a lot of evidence and dozens of witnesses, including some of Trump’s closest allies and even family members. This week, Republican state representatives from Arizona and Georgia testified that Trump tried to pressure them to find votes and nullify the election. This week, on the official fourth day of public hearings, more evidence was presented showing just how far Trump and some of his inner circle went to push the “big lie” that the 2020 election was rigged. Today on Front Burner, Aaron Blake of the Washington Post, on the evidence, the unanswered questions, and what it would take for a criminal indictment against the former president.

The images were taken both before and after the insurrection. The revelation about the film came to light on Tuesday when British filmmaker Alex Holder revealed that he had complied with a congressional subpoena to hand over all the footage he shot in the final weeks of Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign.

Meanwhile, in a sign of a widening investigation by the Justice Department, federal law enforcement officials served a round of subpoenas Wednesday related to alternative, or fake, lists of voters who tried to declare Trump the winner. in their states in 2020.

The House committee has already been looking into the matter, but the new subpoenas underscore the Justice Department’s interest in the same area. The recipients of the subpoenas included David Shafer, chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, according to a person familiar with the matter who insisted on anonymity to speak about an ongoing investigation.

The lobbying campaign in Georgia to undo a Biden victory in the state is also the subject of a special grand jury currently meeting in Atlanta.

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