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Documents show Trump pressured DOJ to back election fraud claims

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-06-17 13:37
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An American flag waves outside the US Department of Justice Building in Washington,  December 15, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

WASHINGTON - Documents obtained by a US congressional panel and released Tuesday showed that former President Donald Trump pressured the Department of Justice (DOJ) to back his claims that the results of the 2020 election were fraudulent.

The documents, provided to the House Oversight and Reform Committee, showed efforts by Trump, his then-Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and the former president's private attorney Kurt Olsen to ask the DOJ to investigate claims of election fraud between December 2020 and January 2021.

What was made public were emails Trump's assistant sent on Dec. 14 -- the day the Electoral College met to certify results in all 50 states -- to then-Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and then-Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue containing materials and "talking points" about election fraud claims in the state of Michigan.

Some 40 minutes after the email to Rosen was sent, Trump announced that then-Attorney General Bill Barr, who disputed the former president's claims about the election, would step down, and that Rosen will replace him in an acting capacity. Donoghue relayed the same materials to the US attorneys for the Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan, shortly before his promotion to Acting Deputy Attorney General was announced.

The revelations showed that Trump on Dec. 29 used official White House channels to send Rosen, Donoghue, and Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall a 54-page legal brief demanding that the Supreme Court "declare that the Electoral College votes cast" in six states that Trump lost "cannot be counted," and that a "special election" must be held in each one.

On the same day, Olsen, Trump's personal lawyer, also sent emails to senior DOJ officials urging them to file a complaint in the Supreme Court to overturn the election results.

It also came to light that Meadows, then Trump's chief of staff, on at least five occasions directed DOJ officials to investigate baseless fraud claims.

"These documents show that President Trump tried to corrupt our nation's chief law enforcement agency in a brazen attempt to overturn an election that he lost," Representative Carolyn Maloney, Democrat of New York State who chairs the House Oversight and Reform Committee, said in a statement.

The committee has requested that Meadows, Donoghue and other Trump DOJ officials appear for transcribed interviews. It had on May 21 requested that Rosen testify through a transcribed interview.

"Those who aided or witnessed President Trump's unlawful actions must answer the Committee's questions about this attempted subversion of democracy. My Committee is committed to ensuring that the events leading to the violent January 6 insurrection are fully investigated," Maloney said.

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