According to the parliamentary inquiry into the storming of the Capitol, former US President Donald Trump wanted to stay in power with the help of the Justice Department after his election defeat. After his defeat by Democrat Joe Biden in November 2020, Trump didn’t just want the Justice Department to investigate the allegations of voter fraud he had spread, committee chairman Bennie Thompson said on Thursday. “He wanted the Justice Department to help legitimize his lies.”
At a hearing in the House of Representatives, then Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and his deputy Richard Donoghue described how Trump put them under vehement pressure. He also threatened to change the ministry’s leadership in order to get the agency to take action against alleged electoral fraud.
Rosen said during his brief tenure at the helm of the ministry, Trump called or video chatted with him virtually every day from December 23, 2020 to January 3, 2021. Donoghue said Trump had “an arsenal of allegations” about alleged voter fraud “that he wanted to base himself on.” The President has urged the Justice Department to investigate. However, these were baseless allegations or conspiracy theories. “These claims were simply baseless,” Donoghue said.
The Department of Justice has complied with the law and the facts, stressed Rosen. Among other things, Trump tried to get the department to write a letter declaring that the election was corrupt, Donoghue said. Trump said that he and his Republican allies in Congress would then do the “rest” – i.e. overturning the legitimate election result. Donoghue stressed that the letter had politically instrumentalized the ministry in a dangerous way. “It would probably have slipped us into a constitutional crisis,” he said.
Trump threatened to replace Rosen with top official Jeffrey Clark, who was willing to use the agency to undermine the election, in the face of the department’s refusal to back him. At a dramatic meeting in the White House on January 3, Trump was made clear that in this case almost the entire top management of the ministry would resign immediately, Rosen and Donoghue said in unison. Rosen stressed that White House Counsel Pat Cipollone had advised Trump not to fire the ministry head.
“Willing to sacrifice our republic to extend his presidency”
As one member of the investigative committee, Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger, summed it up: “President Trump sought to undo his election defeat by appointing an unqualified man to head the Justice Department. It was a move to win at all costs – regardless of the will of the people in America. “For Trump, the facts were “irrelevant”. “What good are facts if they only confirm his defeat?” asked Kinzinger, who is one of the few prominent Trump critics among Republicans in Congress. “In short, he was willing to sacrifice our republic to extend his presidency.”
Rosen and Donoghue only took office in December 2020 for the final weeks of Trump’s term after Attorney General William Barr tendered his resignation amid a dispute over the outcome of the presidential election. Barr has since called Trump’s cheating fantasies “bullshit” and “insane.”
TTo this day, rump claims without any evidence that it was cheated out of victory in the November 2020 election. His camp failed with dozens of lawsuits. For weeks, the Republican tried to overturn the success of Democrat Joe Biden using the most questionable methods. Resistance culminated in an attack on the Capitol, the seat of Parliament.
Documents and recorded testimonies from former White House staffers at the committee meeting confirmed that after Jan. 6, several Republican lawmakers sought an early pardon from Trump. Representatives Matt Gaetz, Mo Brooks, Scott Perry and Louie Gohmert, among others, have sought protection from possible prosecution given their support for Trump’s efforts.
On January 6, 2021, Trump supporters violently stormed the seat of parliament in the capital Washington. Congress met there to certify Biden’s election victory. Five people were killed in the riots, including a police officer. The attack on the heart of US democracy shook the country. (dpa, AFP)