WASHINGTON: The House of Commons Inquiry into the Capitol Storming on Thursday attacked Donald Trump’s “brazen” attempts to push the Justice Department to support his false claims of voter fraud around Joe Biden’s presidential election .
During this fifth public hearing, the nine elected officials – seven Democrats and two Republicans repudiated by their party – detailed the pressure exerted by Mr. Trump on the ministry and his efforts to appoint as its head one of his loyal followers ready to “a interference in the results of a presidential election”.
“Donald Trump didn’t just want the Justice Department to investigate. He wanted the Justice Department to help him legitimize his lies and baselessly state that the election was rigged,” the Commission Chairman noted, Bennie Thompson.
The elected officials returned to the tensions within the ministry in the days preceding January 6, 2021, when the defeated president had faced an internal revolt while trying to install one of his relatives at the head of the institution.
“It was a brazen attempt to use the Justice Department to advance the president’s personal political interests,” Thompson added.
Former acting deputy minister Richard Donoghue testified for his part that he repeatedly told the former US president that his accusations of voter fraud were unfounded.
Mr. Trump simply repeated that he had won the presidential election. “The president said, + just say the election was rigged and leave the rest in my hands and those of the elected Republicans +”, said Mr. Donoghue, based on his notes taken during a telephone conversation with Mr. Trump and ex-acting minister Jeffrey Rosen.
Seeing that the highest officials of the Ministry of Justice refused to bend, the defeated president tried to install one of his relatives at the head of the institution. Jeffrey Clark, a mid-level civil servant who embraced the theories pushed by the president about a rigged election, was to overrule the department’s findings – which had found no evidence of fraud that could have changed the outcome of the November ballot.
Facts, evidence and laws
Jeffrey Clark was also to intervene on behalf of the ministry to refuse to certify the result of the election in the key state of Georgia, where Joe Biden had won with only 12,000 votes in advance.
The Commission learned that Mr. Clark had prepared a letter for Georgia’s elected officials, in which he claimed that the department had uncovered evidence of massive fraud in Georgia, which was untrue. But other Justice Department officials refused to sign the letter, and White House legal adviser Eric Herschmann said he told Jeff Clark that sending the letter would have been “a crime.”
Mr. Trump told Jeffrey Rosen and Richard Donoghue that he was being advised to fire them and appoint Jeffrey Clark as acting minister.
“I answered him (…) Mr. President, you have to have the officials who suit you, but you have to understand that the Ministry of Justice operates on the basis of facts, evidence and laws. And that , that’s not going to change,” Donoghue said.
The former assistant minister also said he warned Jeffrey Clark that his efforts to substantiate allegations of fraud “were nothing less than interference by the Department of Justice in the results of a presidential election”.
Jeffrey Rosen, Richard Donoghue, Steven Engel, a senior department official, and Pat Cipollone, a White House lawyer, threatened to resign during a meeting with the president on January 3, warning that they would take the best with them. federal prosecutors across the country.
Donald Trump has given up naming Jeffrey Clark, who refused to testify before the commission of inquiry.
The commission of inquiry announced on Wednesday that two additional sessions would take place in July.
The Congress interrupts its work on July 4 for two weeks.
After a year of investigation, the commission wants to present its conclusions before the end of the summer, placing Donald Trump at the heart of “an attempted coup” which culminated in the assault of hundreds of his supporters on the Congress building in Washington on January 6, 2021, as elected officials certify Joe Biden’s victory.
The images of chaos in and around the Capitol had gone around the world and shaken American democracy for a few hours.
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