Photograph: Andy Jacobsohn / AFP / Getty Images
Donald Trump insisted on Saturday that when he told senior Justice officials to “just say the election was corrupt [and] leave the rest to me ”, he was not trying to overthrow American democracy, but“ to defend the integrity and the honesty of the elections and the sanctity of our vote ”.
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The former president’s reaffirmation of his lie that his loss to Joe Biden was the result of electoral fraud came a day after Washington was rocked by news of his December appeal with Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and Richard Donoghue, a senior DoJ official.
Trump’s pressure on federal and state officials to reverse his national defeat and state losses to Biden has been well documented. The cases mounted by his campaign claiming electoral fraud have been repeatedly thrown out of court.
Republicans in states like Arizona and Wisconsin conduct controversial election audits and inquiries. Many GOP-controlled states are pursuing laws that critics say are aimed at restricting access to ballots among those likely to vote Democratic or to facilitate the overturning of the results.
But on Friday, the House Oversight Committee released memos taken by Richard Donoghue, a senior DoJ official, regarding a call with Rosen on December 27. The memos highlighted Trump’s surprising request.
Washington editor-in-chief Benjy Sarlin of NBC News, wrote on Twitter: “We can’t take an ongoing historical scandal for granted just because it says it all the time. These are allegations at the Watergate level. “
Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 to avoid impeachment over the Watergate scandal, which involved dirty tricks against political opponents, including the commission of crimes. Trump was impeached a second time after his lies about voter fraud fueled the deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol on Jan.6.
Ten Republicans in the House and seven in the Senate turned on him, but he retained enough support to avoid conviction for inciting insurgency and remains able to run in federal election.
Earlier this week, all eyes in Washington were on the first hearing convened by a House select committee to investigate the Capitol assault.
Harry Dunn, a Capitol Hill police officer, was one of four law enforcement officers who testified emotionally about the attack on Trump supporters.
Like the other officers, he called on Democrats and Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, two anti-Trump Republicans on the panel, to investigate the political genesis of the aggression.
“If a hitman gets hired and he kills someone,” Dunn said, “the hitman goes to jail. But not only does the hitman go to jail, but also the person who has him. hiring.
“There was an attack on January 6 and a hitman sent them. I want you to get to the bottom of this.
Trump told his supporters to walk on Capitol Hill and “fight like hell” to reverse his defeat. His conversations of the day with high-ranking Republicans including Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Jim Jordan of Ohio are the subject of fierce speculation.
Trump referred to Jordan and other Republicans during his conversation with Rosen and Donoghue, according to Donoghue’s note. Trump was told “Most of the information you get is bogus” and “We are looking into the allegations but they don’t come to fruition.” He replied that he had allies in Congress who would seek ways to overturn the elections.
Jordan was one of nearly 150 Republicans in the House and Senate who filed objections to the results in Arizona or Pennsylvania or both. Such objections made on the night of January 6, following the expulsion from Capitol Hill of rioters seeking lawmakers to capture and possibly kill, made no difference to Vice President Mike Pence’s certification of victory. by Biden.
Related: “This is how I’m going to die”: police recount the trauma of the attack on the Capitol
Trump retains a grip on the Republican Party and has continually flirted with the confirmation of another White House candidacy in 2024. This could be a way to avoid legal issues that escalated on Friday with a DoJ order ordering that his tax returns are forwarded to another house. Committee.
In his statement on Saturday, Trump called the Democrats who control the House Oversight Committee “corrupt and highly partisan.”
The documents released, he said, “were aimed at upholding the integrity and honesty of the election and the sanctity of our vote … massive fraud on the American people.”
Carolyn Maloney, Chair of the House Oversight Committee, said on Friday: “These handwritten notes show President Trump directly called on our nation’s top law enforcement agency to take action to reverse free and fair elections. “