The gold medal for sprinting in the DC heat goes to former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, who raced over to Congress this weekend to tell them all about Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the election in December and January, and to make sure everyone knows that he, Jeffrey Rosen, stood tall and thwarted the evil plot.

On July 26, the Department of Justice sent letters to several former Trump DOJ officials giving them the green light to tell Congress the dirt on Trump's plot to get the election results tossed out. On August 2, former GOP Rep. Doug "Hee Haw" Collins, now Trump's personal lawyer, followed up with his own love note, huffing and puffing and threatening to open up a big ol' can of whoop-ass if Congress tries to talk to anyone else. As if Jeff Rosen could stop Congress from calling more witnesses. Then Collins got on the horn with Fox News, which dutifully put the word out that Rosen and the other recipients of the letter should probably shout "EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE!" and refuse to answer questions, despite the fact that no executive privilege has ever been invoked.

But Rosen wasn't waiting for Collins et al. to belly up to the bar and ask some federal judge to throw sand in the gears based on some wacko theory that former presidents retain the ability to invoke executive privilege after they've left the White House. According to the New York Times, which broke the story, "Mr. Rosen quickly scheduled interviews with congressional investigators to get as much of his version of events on the record before any players could ask the courts to block the proceedings."


Rosen huddled up with the Justice Department inspector general on Friday and spent six hours Saturday testifying to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Richard Donoghue, Rosen's principal deputy during his tenure as acting AG, testified to the Judiciary Committee for five hours on Friday, according to CNN.

At the center of the allegations is Jeffrey Clark, former acting head of DOJ's Civil Division, who devoted himself to staging what looks an awful lot like a coup, doggedly working to get DOJ to declare swing state vote tallies fraudulent, giving Republican legislatures cover to seize the electoral votes and award them to Donald Trump. The Times reports that Rosen testified to a shocking degree of coordination between Clark and the White House — an absolute violation of DOJ rules barring contact between lower level officials and the White House.

In a further breach, Clark appears to have been plotting with Pennsylvania GOP Rep. Scott Perry — called it! — on how best to wield the power of the Justice Department to overturn the election results. Which is appalling in and of itself, in addition to being a violation of rules that say you don't discuss DOJ business with outsiders.

On December 28, two weeks after the Electoral College results had been certified, Clark requested a classified briefing with Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe on foreign election interference. Perhaps hoping this would shut him up, Rosen acceded. But Clark, who had been doing his own research on INTERNET, failed to be convinced by Ratcliffe's assessment that no votes had been changed and there was no evidence of systematic election fraud.

Clark remained certain that Dominion machines had been hacked via Chinese thermostats — yes, literally — and refused to be convinced otherwise.

CNN reports:

During the briefing, Clark expressed skepticism not of Ratcliffe's personal motives, but the analysis from the intelligence community that he was presenting, the source added. Clark believed some intelligence officials were withholding certain information from Ratcliffe because they were concerned about it being politicized by the Trump administration or certain policymakers, the source also said.

In case that doesn't make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end, remember that Trump wanted to fire Rosen and make Clark head of the DOJ, where he could have carried out the coup plot, and was only talked out of it after his entire senior legal team threatened to resign.

All of which is clearly insane! But is it illegal?

National Security lawyer Brad Moss suggests on Twitter that Clark's and Trump's cahoots-ing might be a violation of 18 U.S. Code § 595, which prohibits federal employees from using their "official authority for the purpose of interfering with, or affecting, the nomination or the election of any candidate" for federal office. And of course, we want to believe. But also, we spent a lot of time and energy wish-casting about the Mueller Report, and let's just say we're not holding our breath waiting for the DOJ to test out a novel theory of political criming. Let's see if the DOJ inspector general recommends prosecution before we get too excited.

But, on the plus side, congressional queries seem to be racing along like a house on fire, so we may not get prosecutions, but we will at least find out what happened. The Senate Judiciary Committee is receiving testimony, and it appears to have at least some Republican buy-in, with Senators Thom Tillis, Ben Sasse, Mike Lee, and Chuck Grassley attending Rosen's testimony.

Over in the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has transferred all inquiries in the matter to the January 6 Select Committee, curtailing a duplicative inquiry in the Oversight Committee, where louts like Jim Jordan, Paul Gosar, and Andrew Clyde have already shown their intent to bollix it up. The select committee polished its bipartisan bona fides yesterday by adding former Republican congressman Denver Riggleman to its staff, assisting Republican Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, who've already risked their political careers and seem undaunted at the prospect of dropping subpoenas on Scott Perry, Kevin McCarthy, or anyone else.

We are going to get to the bottom of this, Trump's threats and tantrums notwithstanding.

[NYT / CNN / CNN]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.

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