New emails released Tuesday by Democrats on the House Oversight Committee reveal a pressure campaign by then-President Donald Trump and his allies to push Justice Department officials to overturn the 2020 election results.
Documents obtained by the committee show that Trump, his then-chief of staff Mark Meadows and Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani repeatedly pressured senior DOJ officials in December and January to advance baseless election fraud conspiracy theories in an effort to keep Trump in power.
Minutes before Trump announced that William Barr was stepping down as attorney general, the president’s assistant sent an email to Barr’s replacement, then-Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, on behalf of Trump that alleged a “Cover-up is Happening regarding the voting machines in Michigan.”
“Michigan cannot certify for Biden,” the December 2020 email to Rosen stated.
The emails coincided with Trump’s public efforts to cast doubt on President Joe Biden’s victory by falsely claiming the election was stolen through rigged voting machines and fraudulent ballots. Trump has continued lying about the election months into Biden’s presidency.
Barr resigned soon after publicly contradicting Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud, telling the Associated Press on Dec. 1 that the Justice Department has “not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”
In a statement on Tuesday, Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) said the documents showed Trump “tried to corrupt our nation’s chief law enforcement agency in a brazen attempt to overturn an election that he lost.”
“Those who aided or witnessed President Trump’s unlawful actions must answer the Committee’s questions about this attempted subversion of democracy,” Maloney said. “My Committee is committed to ensuring that the events leading to the violent January 6 insurrection are fully investigated.”
The committee said the documents showed Trump had been considering firing Rosen in early January and replacing him with then-Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Clark, who was “sympathetic to the President’s election fraud claims.”
Meadows pushed the Justice Department to investigate bogus election conspiracy theories at least five times, according to the committee, including in late December when he emailed Rosen a document purporting to show Italian facilities had changed electoral data to favor Biden.
As part of its investigation into Trump’s final days in office and the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, the oversight committee has asked to conduct transcribed interviews with Meadows, Clark and several other DOJ officials.
Rosen is in the process of negotiating terms of a single interview with congressional investigators and has asked DOJ officials to instruct him on what information he can provide related to his meetings with Trump, which could be privileged, reported The New York Times.