Donald Trump Plotted to Remove Acting Attorney General in Bid to Steal the Election

Former President Donald Trump’s efforts to steal the 2020 election were not limited to lies, inciting an insurrection, frivolous lawsuits, or voter suppression.

Photo by Pete Marovich/Pool/Getty Images

A blockbuster report in Friday’s New York Times revealed that Trump plotted with an attorney in the Department of Justice to oust Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen in order to overturn the vote count in Georgia.

The Times reports:

The unassuming lawyer who worked on the plan, Jeffrey Clark, had been devising ways to cast doubt on the election results and to bolster Mr. Trump’s continuing legal battles and the pressure on Georgia politicians. Because Mr. Rosen had refused the president’s entreaties to carry out those plans, Mr. Trump was about to decide whether to fire Mr. Rosen and replace him with Mr. Clark.

The plan failed when Justice Department officials caught wind of the scheme and threatened to resign en masse:

Their informal pact ultimately helped persuade Mr. Trump to keep Mr. Rosen in place, calculating that a furor over mass resignations at the top of the Justice Department would eclipse any attention on his baseless accusations of voter fraud. Mr. Trump’s decision came only after Mr. Rosen and Mr. Clark made their competing cases to him in a bizarre White House meeting that two officials compared with an episode of Mr. Trump’s reality show ‘The Apprentice,’ albeit one that could prompt a constitutional crisis.

The Clark plan, the officials concluded, would seriously harm the department, the government and the rule of law. For hours, they anxiously messaged and called one another as they awaited Mr. Rosen’s fate.

When Clark was questioned by The Times on the matter, he claimed that his conversations with Trump were protected under “the strictures of legal privilege.”

He also insisted that the accounts, brought forth by four former members of the Trump Administration who spoke on condition of anonymity, were false. Clark did not, however, elaborate as to why.

“Senior Justice Department lawyers, not uncommonly, provide legal advice to the White House as part of our duties. All my official communications were consistent with law,” Clark told the publication.

“My practice is to rely on sworn testimony to assess disputed factual claims,” Clark said. “There was a candid discussion of options and pros and cons with the president. It is unfortunate that those who were part of a privileged legal conversation would comment in public about such internal deliberations, while also distorting any discussions.”

Trump declined to comment. But one of his advisers told The Times that the president was focused on “rampant election fraud that has plagued our system for years,” despite there being no evidence to support those claims:

The individual added that “any assertion to the contrary is false and being driven by those who wish to keep the system broken.”

Rosen refused to comply with Trump’s attempts to upend American democracy.

He explained to Trump directly that the Justice Department had found no evidence of fraud in the election:

He maintained that he would make decisions based on the facts and the law, and he reiterated what Mr. Barr had privately told Mr. Trump: The department had investigated voting irregularities and found no evidence of widespread fraud.

Trump continued to push back:

But Mr. Trump continued to press Mr. Rosen after the meeting — in phone calls and in person. He repeatedly said that he did not understand why the Justice Department had not found evidence that supported conspiracy theories about the election that some of his personal lawyers had espoused. He declared that the department was not fighting hard enough for him.

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