House of Representatives Committee of InquiryThursday’s hearing focused on the efforts of then-President Donald Trump and the former Justice Department official To pressure the ministry to help nullify the 2020 election results.
Trump wanted to fire Acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen – who just took office in December 2020, after the attorney generalIt became official — and replaced by Clark, an environmental attorney who had never filed a criminal case. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who led the inquiry on Thursday, said Clark’s only qualifications was that he would “do what the president wants him to do.”
Committee Chairman Rep. Penny Thompson said Clark’s inauguration and the lobbying campaign on the Justice Department amounted to “essentially a political coup”.
In video testimony, former White House attorney Eric Hirschman said of Clark: “The best I can say, the only thing you know about environmental and electoral challenges is that they start with an ‘E’.”
Three former Department of Justice officials testified before the panel Thursday — former acting deputy attorney general Richard Donoghue, former acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen, and former assistant attorney general Stephen Engel. Donoghue displayed handwritten notes during a call with Trump, in which the former president said, “Just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me.” [Republican] Members of Congress”.
Trump’s determination to install Clarke as the country’s chief law enforcement official was evident — on January 3, 2021, White House call records shown by the committee were already referring to Clark as the acting attorney general. But all the deputy attorney generals have threatened to resign if Clark is appointed to lead the Department of Justice. Former assistant attorney general Stephen Engel, who headed the Office of the Legal Counsel, testified on Thursday, and that reality persuaded Trump to reconsider.
Donoghue testified Thursday that Clark wanted to send a letter to the Georgia legislature from the Justice Department questioning the integrity of the election, a move that “may have led us into a constitutional crisis” if the plan were allowed to go ahead, Donoghue said.
After the 2020 election, Trump relentlessly pushed the Department of Justice to investigate his allegations of election fraud, even after they investigated and refuted them. At one point, when the Justice Department refused to act on a conspiracy theory alleging that Italian satellites were diverting votes from Trump to Biden, the Department of Defense made some inquiries. Donoghue dismissed the theory as “ridiculous”.
Kinzinger said the commission learned that former acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller ended up summoning the attache in Italy to investigate the Italian satellite claim.
Handwritten notes from Donoghue indicated that Trump told senior Justice Department officials, “You may not follow the Internet the way I do.”
“This is one of the best examples of how far President Trump will go to stay in power,” Kinzinger said. Scouring the Internet to support conspiracy theories.
Meanwhile, CBS News has learned that Clark’s home was searched Wednesday morning.
It was also revealed Thursday that Republican Congressman Matt Gates and other members of the Republican Party have requested pardon from the White House, according to recorded communications and recorded testimony from former White House aides.
Five days after the attack on the Capitol, Representative Moe Brooks sent an email to the White House “at the request of Matt Gates,” in which he recommends that the president grant blanket pardons to the following groups of people: every member of Congress and a senator who voted to deny the Electoral College vote requests for Arizona and Pennsylvania.”
Meanwhile, Brooks responded to the disclosure of his pardon request in a text message to CBS News: He said there had been “concern that Democrats might abuse the judicial system by prosecuting and imprisoning Republicans who acted in accordance with their constitutional or statutory duties under 3 USC 15.”
The committee has not set dates for future hearings, which Thompson said earlier this week would likely take place in July.
Ellis Kim contributed to this report.