Trump Asked Attorney General To Declare 2020 Election Corrupt ‘And Leave The Rest To Me,’ Notes Show
Former President Donald Trump not only called his acting attorney general every day at the end of last year to alert him to false voter fraud claims, as The Washington Post reported earlier this week, Trump explicitly pressured him to declare the 2020 election “corrupt” in a December phone call, according to documents published Friday by the House Oversight and Reform Committee that mark the most recent evidence of Trump’s extraordinary campaign to overturn the election’s results.
The House committee—which is investigating the Trump administration’s potentially unlawful efforts to influence the outcome of the election—made public notes taken by former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen’s deputy, Richard Donoghue, during a Dec. 27 phone call between Trump and top officials from the Department of Justice.
In the notes summarizing the call, Donoghue recalled Trump asking Rosen and other top officials to “just say that the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me” and congressional allies.
The then-president alleged voter fraud in Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and Arizona, which he labeled “corrupted elections,” and continued to press on other claims when Donoghue would push back, according to the notes.
In response to a false claim that Pennsylvania had more ballots cast than there are voters in the state, Donoghue noted the Justice Department “should be able to check on that quickly,” but said Trump should “understand that the DOJ can’t and won’t snap its fingers and change the outcome of the election.”
According to Donoghue’s notes, Trump didn’t explicitly say which congresspeople he suggested would help him, but mentioned at other points in the call Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Rep. Scott Perry (R-Penn.) and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), the latter of whom he praised for “getting to the bottom of things.”
Forbes reached out to representatives for Trump for comment.
As Trump’s false voter fraud claims were shrugged off, Donoghue wrote the ex-president began castigating the Justice Department, saying “people are angry—blaming DOJ for inaction.” Trump also said “people want me to replace DOJ leadership” and mentioned Jeff Clark, the acting head of the department’s civil division, who it was later reported had worked on a plan with Trump to cast doubt on the election results and oust Rosen for not complying with Trump’s requests to do so. “People tell me Jeff Clark is great,” Donoghue recalled Trump saying during the call. “I should put him in.”
The conversation wasn’t limited to the 2020 election, according to Donoghue, who wrote that Trump also told DOJ officials to “figure out what to do” with President Biden’s son Hunter during the call. “People will criticize the DOJ if he’s not investigated for real,” Trump apparently said.
The notes also reveal that two days after the phone call, Justice Department officials met with top Trump administration officials, including Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, to discuss Italygate, a conspiracy theory that claims people working for an Italian defense contractor coordinated with senior CIA officials to switch votes from Trump to Biden during the election.
This is the latest evidence of Trump pressuring officials to change the results of the election. His actions are being investigated by multiple entities, including the House Oversight and Reform Committee, which the Justice Department recently said will be allowed to hear “unrestricted testimony” from former officials (a shift from the Trump administration’s view that their conversations are protected by executive privilege). Trump’s post-election pressure campaign is also being probed by the office of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Ratffensperger, who was asked by Trump during a call late last year to “find” votes in his favor, and by prosecutors in Georgia’s Fulton County.