Trump Urged DOJ To 'Say The Election Was Corrupt And Leave The Rest To Me.' Very Cool, Very Legal.
"Just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the R. Congressmen," Trump ordered (acting) Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen on December 27, 2020, as he bombarded him with one debunked conspiracy after another. When Justice Department officials pushed back, telling him "Much of the info you're getting is false," the president responded, "You guys may not be following the internet the way I do."
Which is true, as far as it goes. DOJ lawyers have actual jobs that take up their time, so they can't mainline One America and Newsmax for 15 hours a day to keep abreast of the latest 4chan conspiracy theories. They are also bound by facts and law, which is why they refused to comply with instructions to demand an impossible "signature match" audit in Georgia or to hop to when he said, "We have an obligation to tell people that this was an illegal, corrupt election."
This week, the current Justice Department sent letters to former top DOJ officials informing them that it did not support assertion of executive privilege to block disclosures to Congress about the events leading up to January 6; then, apparently, it stuck notes from a couple of ratfucking phone calls in December in an envelope and mailed 'em to House Oversight Chair Carolyn Maloney.
The notes taken by Richard Donoghue, then the number two guy at DOJ, reveal a White House trying desperately to weaponize the Department to overturn the results of the election, complaining about "inaction" and the "DOJ failing to respond to legitimate complaints."
"You, Rich, should go to Fulton County and do a signature verification and you'll see how illegal it is," the president blarped. "You'll find tens of thousands." This despite Georgia already having a signature match law, and the impossibility of matching ballots to envelopes when they'd been separated from each other six weeks prior.
"These people who saying that the election isn't corrupt are corrupt," Trump railed when Rosen pushed back on his claim that more ballots were cast in Pennsylvania than there were registered voters, as well as pointing out that the error rate in Michigan was 0.0063 percent, not the 68 percent his boss claimed.
Ominously, Trump also mentioned putting Jeffrey Clark in charge of the DOJ. Remember, Clark was the one who wanted to announce an investigation of non-existent fraud in Georgia and do all the crazy shit Trump wanted, and his ascension was only prevented because Trump realized half the DOJ leadership would resign if he went through with it.
Two days after the call with Trump, Donoghue was back on the horn with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to talk about #Italygate. You know, the totally credible theory that Barack Obama was cahootsing with Italian President Giuseppe Conti to steal the 2020 election using Italian military satellites. And the whole plan was being run out of the American embassy in Rome. And somehow this insane acid flashback story from five weeks ago is a part of it. (Pretty sure my brain just wiped that one off the hard drive for my own health.)
During the call, Justice Department officials dutifully agreed to look into the batshittery, and did not point out that it was wildly, insanely inappropriate for the White House COS to be sending them off to arrest Italy based on some random YouTube video. Just like they didn't tell Meadows's boss that it was completely inappropriate for him to order them to "figure out what to do" about Hunter Biden, because "People will criticize the D.O.J. if he's not investigated for real."
In short, it was even worse than we thought. And we're about to find out all about it.
"In light of these revelations," Rep. Maloney said today, "the Committee requested that Former Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue, Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Former Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Clark, Former Associate Deputy Attorney General Patrick Hovakimian, Former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia Byung Jin Pak, and Former Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia Bobby Christine appear for transcribed interviews."
And, PS, the DOJ just told the IRS to hand Trump's tax returns over to the House Ways and Means Committee. Because we all voted.
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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.