5 Key Takeaways From the Fifth Hearing on the Jan. 6 Capitol Riot | Political news

US lawmakers investigating the deadly riot at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 have turned their attention to President Donald Trump’s pressure on the US Department of Justice to void the 2020 election.

The House committee held its fifth public hearing this month on Thursday, laying out once again what it knows about Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the US presidential election he lost to Joe Biden. .

This time, the hearing focused on Trump’s attempt to get the Justice Department to “legitimize its lies” about voter fraud, panel chairman Bennie Thompson said.

“When these and other efforts failed, Donald Trump sought to replace Mr. [Jeffrey] Rosen, the acting attorney general, with a lawyer who he says is improperly putting the full weight of the Justice Department behind efforts to nullify the election,” Thompson said.

Here’s a look at the top five takeaways from this month’s fifth public hearing:

‘Just say the election was corrupt,’ former US official Trump said

The panel featured a handwritten memo from former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue, in which he quoted Trump saying, “Just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican members of Congress.”

Donoghue confirmed to the panel that the statement was an accurate quote from Trump.

Donoghue said the Justice Department reviewed various claims but found no cases of fraud that would have come close to altering the election results. The department communicated this to Trump, he added.

“There have been isolated cases of fraud; none of them came close to questioning the outcome of the election in any given state,” Donoghue told US lawmakers.

Trump contacted Justice Department daily over allegations of fraud, Jeffrey Rosen testifies

Former acting U.S. attorney general Jeffrey Rosen testified Thursday that Trump contacted him daily in the weeks leading up to the Capitol riot and “claimed he felt the Justice Department hadn’t done enough.” to investigate his false allegations of voter fraud.

“Between December 23 and January 3, the president called or met with me virtually every day, with one or two exceptions, such as Christmas Day,” Rosen, who held the position, told the committee. in the final days of the Trump administration. .

Rosen said Trump discussed the possibility of having a special attorney for voter fraud, holding a meeting with his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, filing a lawsuit in the U.S. Supreme Court and making a public statement about allegations of fraud, among others.

“I will say that the Justice Department denied all of these requests…because we didn’t believe they were appropriate based on the facts and the law as we understood them,” Rosen said.

Former acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen testified before the House panel on Thursday [Jim Bourg/Reuters]

Trump’s team offered to appoint Jeffrey Clark as attorney general to overturn the vote

The panel said it was reviewing efforts to install former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark as acting attorney general to help overturn the election.

Lawmakers and witnesses argued that Clark was unqualified for the job and was only suggested because he allegedly supported Trump’s fraud allegations.

In a video of his testimony before the committee, Giuliani said: “I remember telling people that someone should be put in charge of the Ministry of Justice who is not afraid of what is going to be done to their reputation. .”

Donoghue said Republican Congressman Scott Perry of Pennsylvania mentioned Clark during a Dec. 27 call in which Perrry raised allegations of voter fraud in the state. “At the start of the call, Congressman Perry said he was calling at the request of the president,” Donoghue told the panel.

“He said something like, ‘I think Jeff Clark is great and I think he’s the kind of guy who can get in there and do something about it. And that followed the fact that the president had mentioned Mr. Clark during the afternoon call earlier today.

Donoghue also testified Thursday that Trump appeared to be threatening to fire him along with Acting Attorney General Rosen for refusing to support his baseless voter fraud allegations. “He said, ‘People tell me I should just get rid of you two. I should just pull you out and make a change in management, put Jeff Clark in and maybe something will finally get done,'” said Donoghué.

He recalled telling Trump in response, “Mr. President, you should have whatever leadership you want, but understand that the United States Department of Justice operates on facts, evidence and law.

“And those aren’t going to change, so you can have whatever leadership you want, but the position of the department isn’t going to change.”

Draft letter at heart of Clark’s effort to reverse Trump election defeat: Panel

A draft letter from Clark and his adviser, Ken Klukowski, falsely alleging voter fraud that was to be sent to the Georgia state legislature emerged at the heart of Thursday’s hearing.

“If this letter had been published on official Department of Justice letterhead, it would have falsely informed all Americans, including those who might be inclined to come to Washington on January 6, that the allegations of voter fraud of President Trump were likely very real,” the committee’s co said. – President Liz Cheney said.

Donoghue said Clark sent him and Rosen the draft letter on December 28. “It was so extreme for me [that] I had a hard time figuring it out at first,” Donoghue said.

Donoghue said he told Clark that “for the department to insert itself into the political process in this way…would have had serious consequences for the country. It could very well have dragged us into a constitutional crisis, and I wanted make sure he understood the seriousness of the situation.

Clark declined to say whether he had discussed his draft Justice Department letter with Trump. In a video of his testimony before the committee, Clark invoked the Fifth Amendment and “executive privilege” to avoid answering questions.

“Fifth and executive privilege again, just reworded for abundance of caution,” he told the panel.

January 6
Representative Liz Cheney speaks at the fifth public hearing into the January 6 attack, June 23 [Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]

Republican lawmakers have asked for clemency: Former Trump White House official

Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, told the committee in an interview that Republican members of Congress Matt Gaetz and Mo Brooks “advocated for there to be a pardon general” compared to January 6.

“Mr. Gaetz was personally pushing for a pardon and had been doing so since early December. I don’t know why,” Hutchinson told the panel, according to a video of his testimony shown during Thursday’s hearing. “Mr. Gaetz contacted me to ask if he could have a meeting with Mr. Meadows about obtaining a presidential pardon.”

When asked if other lawmakers have contacted her about pardons, Hutchinson said Congressmen Andy Biggs, Louie Gohmert and Scott Perry have also done so. Congressman Jim Jordan “talked about congressional pardons, but he never asked me. It was more for an update on whether the White House was going to pardon members of Congress,” she said.

Hutchinson added that Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, a prominent Trump ally, asked the White House attorney for forgiveness.

“The only reason I know to ask for a pardon is because you think you’ve committed a crime,” House committee member Adam Kinzinger said Thursday.

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