Los Angeles Times

Trump told aides to reject election

He prodded officials to call vote ‘corrupt’ to help him overturn results, call notes say.


He urged the Justice Department to declare results “corrupt,” call notes say.

WASHINGTON — President Trump urged senior Justice Department officials to declare the results of the 2020 election “corrupt” in a December phone call, according to handwritte­n notes from one of the participan­ts in the conversati­on.

The notes on the Dec. 27 call, released Friday by the House Oversight Committee, underscore the lengths to which Trump went to try to overturn the results of the election and to elicit the support of law enforcemen­t officials and other government leaders in that effort.

Emails released last month show that Trump and his allies in the last weeks of his presidency pressured the Justice Department to investigat­e unsubstant­iated claims of widespread 2020 election fraud, and the department’s inspector general is looking into whether department officials tried to subvert the results.

“Just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the R. Congressme­n,” Trump said at one point to then-acting Atty. Gen. Jeffrey Rosen, according to notes taken by Rosen deputy Richard Donoghue, who was also on the call.

The pressure is all the more notable because just weeks earlier, Trump’s own attorney general, William Barr, had revealed that the Justice Department had found no evidence of widespread fraud that could have overturned Trump’s loss to Democrat Joe Biden.

The Dec. 27 call took place days after Barr had resigned, leaving Rosen in charge of the department during the administra­tion’s turbulent final weeks, which included the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump loyalists, who stormed the building as Congress was certifying the election results.

“These handwritte­n notes show that President Trump directly instructed our nation’s top law enforcemen­t agency to take steps to overturn a free and fair election in the final days of his presidency,” Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) said in a statement.

She said the committee had begun scheduling interviews with witnesses. The Justice Department earlier this week authorized six witnesses, including Rosen and Donoghue, to appear before the panel and provide “unrestrict­ed testimony,” citing the public interest in the “extraordin­ary events” of those final weeks.

During the call, according to the notes, Trump complained that people were “angry” and blaming the Justice Department for “inaction,” and said, “We have an obligation to tell people that this was an illegal, corrupt election.”

Unsubstant­iated claims of fraud have been repeatedly rejected by judge after judge, including Trump appointees, and by election officials, Republican and Democratic, across the country.

The Justice Department officials told Trump in the call that the department had been investigat­ing but that the allegation­s were not supported by evidence, and that much of the informatio­n he was getting was “false,” according to Donoghue’s notes.

At one point in the conversati­on, the notes show, Rosen told Trump that the Justice Department “can’t + won’t snap its fingers + change the outcome of the election, doesn’t work that way.”

Trump responded by saying: “Don’t expect you to do that, just say that the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me and the R. Congressme­n,” according to the notes.

Trump mused in front of Justice Department leaders on the call about replacing them with Jeffrey Clark, then-assistant attorney general of the Environmen­t and Natural Resources Division and the acting head of the Civil Division.

After the New York Times reported that Trump had been contemplat­ing a plan to replace Rosen with Clark, the department’s inspector general announced that it would investigat­e whether any former or current department officials “engaged in an improper attempt” to overturn the election results.

 ?? Ross D. Franklin Associated Press ?? “LEAVE THE REST to me and the R. Congressme­n,” Trump said, according to an official’s notes.
Ross D. Franklin Associated Press “LEAVE THE REST to me and the R. Congressme­n,” Trump said, according to an official’s notes.

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