A draft letter circulated late last year by a Donald Trump-loyalist, reportedly at the Justice Department, shows that his aides were ready to go as far as to reverse the presidential election.
draft December 28 letter, Published by ABC News, urged top Georgia officials to convene the state legislature in a special session to evaluate alleged “irregularities” in the 2020 election.
The letter states, falsely, that the Justice Department has “identified significant concerns that could affect the outcome of elections in several states, including the state of Georgia.”
According to internal Justice Department emails obtained by ABC News, the letter was circulated by Jeffrey Clark, a top department official who was working with the then-president to get the department more directly involved in the Trump election reversal campaign. . Clarke was the Attorney General of the Civil Division at the time.
According to the email, he sent the draft letter to Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue. Although the letter was directed to Georgia, Clark’s email indicated that he intended to send the same version to “every relevant state.”
“I set it up for the three of us to sign. According to the email obtained by ABC News, I think we should get this out as soon as possible,” Clarke told Rosen and Donoghue.
“I don’t see any legitimate downside to sending the letter,” Clark said.
Donoghue strongly opposed sending the letter in response to his email received by ABC News. He said former Attorney General William Barr had publicly declared that the department had not found evidence of widespread voter fraud that would have changed the outcome of the election. Donoghue said he was unaware of any developments since Barr’s assessment that would have changed that conclusion. Furthermore, Donoghue said it was not in the DOJ’s typical practices to update non-law enforcement actors on the progress of the investigation, as Clark’s draft letter to Georgia officials promised that the department would.
Donoghue told Clarke in an email that there was “no chance” he would sign the draft letter “or anything remotely like that.” Donoghue said that, from where he stood, “it’s not even within the realm of possibility.”
On January 2, Rosen later weighed in to clarify that he “is not prepared to sign such a letter,” according to the email chain.
The internal documents were submitted by the department to the House Oversight Committee, ABC News said, as the committee investigates Trump’s attempts to reverse the election. The committee had no comment when reached by CNN, and the Justice Department also declined to comment. Rosen and Donoghue also did not comment.
The draft letter was one of several examples of how Trump tried to weaponize the Justice Department in his efforts to reverse his election defeat. Trump himself demanded that DOJ officials declare the election “illegal” and “corrupt.” according to notes Trump held the call with Rosen and Donoghue on December 27, released by a House committee last week. Internal DOJ Documents First The release by the committee shows that Trump’s aides also pressured the department to engage in a legal battle to obfuscate the election results.
CNN’s Manu Raju and Evan Perez contributed to this report.