Former Trump officials testified Thursday that Jeffrey Clark, a former assistant attorney general, wanted to investigate voter fraud and have former President Trump install him as attorney general with a plan they called “crazy.” and a “murder-suicide pact”.
Driving the news: Trump considered appointing Clark, an environmental attorney, to replace acting attorney general Jeff Rosen after Rosen refuted the fraud allegations.
Clark had had “no prior involvement” with the work of the DOJ, said former acting attorney general Jeff Rosen.
- When Clark met with the president, who circumvented White House policy, former White House attorney Pat Cipollone and his deputy “told Mr. Clark to stand down, and he didn’t” , said Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.).
- On the same day Rosen told Clark to stop speaking at the White House, Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) urged Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows to elevate Clark to the DOJ.
- Rosen also said he did not allow Clark to attend a meeting at the White House.
- After receiving the letter, Donoghue discussed the issue with Clark in several “conflicted” conversations, Donoghue said. “When I said, ‘This is nothing less than Justice Department interference in an election,’ his reaction was, ‘I think a lot of people have meddled in this election. “”
What they say : Cipollone called a draft letter written by Clark saying the DOJ had evidence of fraud a ‘murder-suicide pact’ if he sent it to state officials, the former deputy attorney general said per acting Richard Donoghue to the committee.
- “I said, damn it – excuse me, sorry, screw it up, congratulations, you just admitted that your first step or act you would take as Attorney General would be committing a crime and violating Rule 6 (e ),” former White House attorney Eric Herschmann testified in a pre-recorded deposition.
- Donoghue also said he told Clark, “You’re an environmental lawyer. What if you go back to your office, and we’ll call you if there’s an oil spill.”
- After reading Clark’s letter, Donoghue said he felt he had to “give a quick response by rejecting” the plan. “In my response, I explained a number of reasons why it is not the role of the department to suggest or dictate to state legislatures how they should select their electors.”
- “Most importantly, it was not based on facts… If the department were to insert itself into the political process like this, I think it would have had serious consequences for the country. It might have drawn us into a crisis. constitutional.”
- He later testified that he made it clear to the president that Clark was “completely incompetent” to lead the department. “He never even went into Chris Wray’s office,” Donoghue said, referring to the FBI director.
To note: Clark, who helped Trump amplify misrepresentations around the election, largely declined to answer questions in a deposition with the House special panel.