Trump’s former acting attorney general describes boss’ ‘persistent’ effort to get DOJ to overturn election

Trump’s former acting attorney general describes boss’ ‘persistent’ effort to get DOJ to overturn election
Jeffrey Rosen described his own efforts to stonewall Trump in testimony

The former acting head of the Justice Department, appointed by former President Donald Trump himself, described an effort to stonewall Mr Trump’s “persistent” efforts to weaponise the Justice Department in the days following his 2020 election defeat, during testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The Washington Post reported on Thursday that Jeffrey Rosen described an ongoing campaign to discredit the results of the 2020 election and efforts to influence Mr Rosen and the Justice Department to issue statements and take other actions to cast doubt on the veracity of the results.

Mr Rosen testified before the committee on Saturday for roughly seven hours, giving remarks that senators who attended described to the Post and other media outlets as candid and revealing about the degree to which Mr Trump tried to utilise the power of his administration to stop Mr Biden from taking office.

“The president was persistent with his inquiries, and I would have strongly preferred that he had chosen a different focus in the last month of his presidency,” said Mr Rosen, during the closed-door session, one person who was familiar with the remarks told the newspaper.

Mr Rosen went on to stress that his agency “consistently acted with integrity” and declined to aid Mr Trump in his work to hold on to power, adding: “[T]he rule of law held fast”.

“I disagreed with things that President Trump suggested the Justice Department do with regard to the election. So we did not do them,” he reportedly continued.

A top aide to Mr Rosen who also testified to the panel, former acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donaghue, said that Mr Trump was very direct in his request to Mr Rosen: “[J]ust say the election was corrupt [and] leave the rest to me”.

The Post previously reported that those requests were coming in on an almost daily basis to Mr Rosen, who found himself the primary barrier in the way of the weaponization of his agency after the resignation of former Attorney General William Barr in December of 2020.

Mr Barr was reported after his exit to have been confronted by a furious Mr Trump at a meeting shortly before his departure, a result of Mr Barr publicly contradicting Mr Trump in an interview with The Associated Press in which he told the news service that “[t]o date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election”.

“Why would you say such a thing? You must hate Trump. There’s no other reason for it. You must hate Trump,” the president reportedly raged at his then-attorney general, according to Axios.

A spokesperson for Mr Trump, Liz Harrington, ripped into what she called “partisan leaks” of Mr Rosen’s testimony and claimed that Mr Trump’s efforts to overturn his election defeat were merely suggestions that a “complete investigation” of the 2020 election was needed.

“We don’t need selective, partisan leaks from closed door testimony to know that President Donald J. Trump rightfully voiced his belief that America deserved a complete investigation into the 2020 election. He has been doing exactly that publicly since Election Day,” she told the Post.

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