House Jan. 6 committee zeroes in on former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol centered Thursday’s listening to on the efforts of then-President Donald Trump and former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark to strain the division to assist overturn the 2020 election outcomes.

Trump wished to fireside appearing Attorney General Jeff Rosen — who had simply taken over in December 2020, after Attorney General Bill Barr’s resignation turned official — and to switch him with Clark, an environmental lawyer who had by no means prosecuted a felony case. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who led the questioning Thursday, stated Clark’s solely qualification was that “he would do whatever the president wanted him to do.”

Installing Clark and the strain marketing campaign on the Justice Department amounted to “essentially a political coup,” committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson stated. 

In video testimony, former White House lawyer Eric Herschmann, stated of Clark that “best I can tell, the only thing you know about environmental and elections challenges is they both start with ‘E.'” 

Three former Justice Department officers testified earlier than the committee Thursday -– former appearing deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue, former appearing Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and former Assistant Attorney General Steven Engel. Donoghue confirmed handwritten notes he had taken throughout a name with Trump, wherein the previous president stated, “Just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the [Republican] congressmen.” 

Capitol Riot Investigation
Steven Engel, former Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel, from left, Jeffrey Rosen, former appearing Attorney General, and Richard Donoghue, former appearing Deputy Attorney General, are sworn in to testify. 

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Trump’s dedication to put in Clark because the nation’s prime legislation enforcement official was obvious — Jan. 3, 2021 White House name logs proven by the committee have been already referring to Clark because the appearing legal professional common. But all of the deputy attorneys common threatened to stop if Clark was put in to helm the Justice Department, former assistant Attorney General Steven Engel, who headed the Office of Legal Counsel, testified Thursday, and this actuality satisfied Trump to rethink.

Donoghue testified Thursday that Clark wished to ship a letter to the Georgia Legislature from the Justice Department questioning the integrity of the election, a transfer that “may very well have spiraled us into a constitutional crisis” if that plan had been allowed to go ahead, Donoghue stated. 

After the 2020 election, Trump relentlessly pushed the Justice Department to analyze his claims of election fraud, even after they’d been investigated and disproven. At one level, when the Justice Department declined to behave on  a conspiracy concept claiming Italian satellites have been switching votes from Trump to Biden, the Defense Department made some inquiries. Donoghue dismissed the speculation as “absurd.” 

Kinzinger stated the panel discovered that former appearing Defense Secretary Chris Miller ended up calling the attaché in Italy to analyze the Italian satellite tv for pc declare.

Handwritten notes from Donoghue famous that Trump informed prime Justice Department officers, “You guys may not be following the internet the way I do.”

“This is one of the best examples of the lengths President Trump would go to stay in power,” Kinzinger stated. “Scouring the internet to support his conspiracy theories.”

Meanwhile, CBS News has discovered that there was a search of Clark’s dwelling on Wednesday morning. 

Also revealed on Thursday was that Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz and different GOP members of Congress requested for pardons from the White House, based on recorded communications and recorded testimony from former White House aides. 

Five days after the assault on the Capitol, Rep. Mo Brooks emailed the White House a letter “pursuant to a request from Matt Gaetz,” recommending that the president give blanket “pardons to the following groups of people: Every Congressman and senator who voted to reject the Electoral College vote submissions of Arizona and Pennsylvania.” 

Brooks, in the meantime, responded to the revelation of his pardon request in a textual content message to CBS News: he stated that “there was a concern Democrats would abuse the judicial system by prosecuting and jailing Republicans who acted pursuant to their Constitutional or statutory duties under 3 USC 15.”

The committee has not set the dates of the following hearings, which Thompson stated earlier this week would doubtless be in July. 

Ellis Kim contributed to this report. 

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