White House counsel for President Donald Trump warned officials against a plan for the Justice Department to tell states it was concerned about voter fraud, describing a draft letter as a “murder-suicide pact,” according to testimony presented by the commission. of the House from January 6 to Thursday.
The panel’s fifth public hearing is a hearing of former Justice Department officials pressured by Trump to help him reverse the 2020 election result.
At the heart of it was a plan for Justice officials to tell key states they had evidence of electoral fraud.
In video testimony, Richard Donoghue, a top Justice Department official, described a key White House meeting in which a younger figure, Jeffrey Clark, directly appealed to Trump to be named acting attorney general so he could launch fraud investigations. .
The meeting was heated, as official after official said Clark and his plan were dangerous, including White House counsel.
“And Pat Cipollone weighed in at one point, I remember saying, you know, that letter this man wants to send that letter is a murder-suicide pact,” he said.
“It will damage anyone who touches it and we should have nothing to do with that letter. I never want to see that letter again.’
Former Deputy Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue testified before the Jan. 6 commission on Thursday as it focused on the Justice Department’s role
Thursday’s discussion centered on the Justice Department’s role, including a letter drafted by Jeffrey Clark telling Georgia lawmakers that the Department was concerned about voter fraud in the state as part of an effort to crack a alternative list of pro-Trump voters to choose
Previous hearings have focused on how Trump was told time and again that he had lost the election.
Thursday highlighted the turmoil at the Justice Department and how Trump considered promoting Clark to back up his own fraud claims.
It also featured video testimony from former Attorney General Bill Barr defending his decision to launch fraud investigations even though there was little evidence of wrongdoing.
“Why not just go about business as usual and have the investigations take place much later in the time after January 6?” said Deputy Liz Cheney as she introduced his response.
“I felt it was responsible to be in a position to see whether or not there was fraud.
“And frankly, I think the fact that I put myself in a position where I could say we looked at this and didn’t think there was fraud was really important in moving things forward.
In testimony played at the hearing, former Attorney General Bill Barr said he didn’t think there would have been a transition if he hadn’t launched an election fraud investigation, giving him the ammunition to push back Trump’s claims.
And I shudder to think what the situation would have been if the department’s position was, ‘We’re not even looking at this until after Biden’s office.
“I’m not sure if we had a transition at all.”
The hearing began after news broke that federal agents raided Clark’s home the day before.
According to several reports, they arrived at his home in suburban Virginia in the early morning.
An ally, Russ Vought, head of the Office of Management and Budget at the Trump White House, said Clark should be out on the street in his pajamas.
“The new era of criminalization of politics is worsening in the US,” Vought tweeted.
“Yesterday, more than a dozen DOJ law enforcement officers searched Jeff Clark’s home during a predawn raid, kicked him out in his pajamas, and took his electronic devices.”
Clark’s attorneys did not respond to requests for comment.
Federal agents reportedly searched the home of Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department attorney who was considering installing former President Donald Trump as attorney general in the days before the Jan. 6 Capitol riot as part of an effort to to cancel the elections.
Thursday’s hearing was the fifth public hearing held this month as the committee set out the findings of its investigation so far into the January 6, 2021 violence.
The Justice Department appears to be escalating its investigation into pro-Trump efforts to nullify the 2020 election, culminating in the deadly January 6 uprising.
Thursday’s hearing included a discussion of a plan to install Clark as acting attorney general so that the Justice Department was led by a Trump loyalist who would file fraud claims.
According to an aide’s testimony, U.S. Representative Scott Perry was one of those who pushed for Clark during White House meetings.
“He wanted Mr. Clark, Mr. Jeff Clark, to take over the Justice Department,” Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, said in a taped testimony.
The commission also played video of Trump’s attorney Rudy Guiliani discussing the qualities they wanted in someone to head the Justice Department.
“Besides the president, I remember telling people to put someone in charge of the Justice Department who isn’t afraid of what will happen to their reputation. Because Justice was full of people like that.’ he said.
Richard Donoghue Testifies About ‘murder-suicide Pact’ Election Fraud Letter From Trump Loyalist