Meadows Pressured Justice Department To Investigate Unfounded Election Fraud Claims
During Donald Trump’s last few weeks in office his chief of staff, Mark Meadows, was so eager to please his boss that he brazenly violated long-standing guidelines and repeatedly pressured the Justice Department to investigate unfounded conspiracy theories and prove that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Trump.
Newly uncovered emails that have been provided to Congress and reviewed by The New York Times show that in late December and early January Meadows asked Jeffrey Rosen, then the acting attorney general, to open inquiries into debunked claims of election fraud in New Mexico. Meadows also wanted Rosen to have federal investigators look into the conspiracy theory known as “Italygate.”
“Italygate” was among several unfounded conspiracy theories surrounding the 2020 elections that caught fire on the internet before the deadly Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol by a pro-Trump insurrectionist mob. According to a former CIA employee who pushed that theory in video and statements he posted online, people in Italy had used military technology and satellites to remotely tamper with voting machines in the United States and switch votes for Trump to votes for Joe Biden.
The newly unearthed messages show how desperate Meadows’s efforts were to find some way of overturning the election results before Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration. Almost all White House personnel, including the chief of staff, are essentially forbidden from contacting the Justice Department about investigations or other enforcement actions.
Rosen resisted all of Meadows’s desperate pleas.
The emails were discovered this year as part of a Senate Judiciary Committee investigation into whether Justice Department officials were involved in efforts to reverse Trump’s election loss.
“This new evidence underscores the depths of the White House’s efforts to co-opt the department and influence the electoral vote certification,” Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), chairman of the committee, said in a statement to The Times. “I will demand all evidence of Trump’s efforts to weaponize the Justice Department in his election subversion scheme.”