President Donald Trump’s White House attorney warned officials about a Justice Department plan to tell states it has concerns about voter fraud, describing a draft letter as a “murder-suicide pact,” according to testimony obtained by the Senate Committee House of Representatives on January 6 were presented Thursday.
The panel’s fifth public hearing hears former Justice Department officials pressured by Trump to help him reverse the 2020 election result.
Central to this was a plan for law officials to tell key states they had evidence of voter fraud.
In a video testimony, Richard Donoghue, a senior Justice Department official, described a key meeting at the White House where a younger figure, Jeffrey Clark, made a direct appeal to Trump to be appointed acting attorney general so he could begin a fraud investigation.
The meeting was heated as one official after another said Clark and his plan were dangerous, including the White House Counsel.
“And Pat Cipollone, at one point I remember, stepped in and said, you know, this letter that this guy is trying to send this letter is a murder-suicide pact,” he said.
“It will harm anyone who touches it and we should have nothing to do with this letter. I never want to see that letter again.’
Former acting Assistant Attorney General Richard Donoghue testified Thursday before the Jan. 6 committee focused on the Justice Department’s role
Thursday’s discussion focused on the Justice Department’s role, including a letter authored by Jeffrey Clark in which he told Georgia lawmakers that the department had concerns about voter fraud in the state, as part of an effort to establish an alternative list of pro -Select Trump electors
Previous hearings have focused on how Trump has been repeatedly told he lost the election.
Thursday highlighted the turmoil at the Justice Department and how Trump considered promoting Clark to further his own fraud allegations.
It also included video testimony from former Attorney General Bill Barr, who defended his decision to open a fraud investigation despite little evidence of wrongdoing.
“Why don’t you just follow regular procedure and have the investigations take place much later, after January 6,” Rep. Liz Cheney said as she presented his response.
“I felt it was responsible to be able to have an opinion on whether or not there was fraud.
“And honestly I think the fact that I put myself in a position to be able to say that we looked at this and didn’t think it was cheating was really important in moving things forward.
In testimony during the hearing, former Attorney General Bill Barr said he didn’t think there would have been a transition had he not opened an investigation into voter fraud, giving him ammunition to push back on Trump’s claims
“And I kind of shudder when I think about what the situation would have been like if the department’s position had been, ‘We’re not looking at this until after Biden takes office.
“I’m not sure we would have had a transition at all.”
The hearing began after it was revealed that federal agents had searched Clark’s home the day before.
According to multiple reports, they arrived at his home in suburban Virginia early that morning.
An ally, Russ Vought, who headed Trump’s Office of Administration and Budget at the White House, said Clark had to stand on the street in his pajamas.
“The new era of criminalizing politics is getting worse in the US,” Vought tweeted.
“Yesterday, more than a dozen Justice Department police officers searched Jeff Clark’s home in a dawn raid, dumped him on the street in his pajamas and took away his electronics.”
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 former President Donald Trump wanted to install as Attorney General to overthrow the election in the days leading up to the Jan. 6 riot
The Justice Department appears to be escalating its investigation into pro-Trump efforts to overthrow the 2020 election that culminated in the deadly January 6 riot.
Thursday’s hearing included discussing a plan to install Clark as acting attorney general so that the Justice Department would be run by a Trump loyalist who would pursue fraud allegations.
US Rep. Scott Perry was among those who pushed for Clark at White House meetings, according to an aide.
“He wanted Mr. Clark — Mr. Jeff Clark to take over the Justice Department,” Cassidy Hutchinson, a former assistant to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, said in testimony.
The committee also played a video of Trump’s attorney, Rudy Guiliani, speaking about the qualities they wanted in someone to run the Justice Department.
“Beyond the President, I remember saying to people that someone should run the Justice Department who is not afraid of what is being done to their reputation. Because the judiciary was full of such people.’ he said.
Richard Donoghue Testifies About Trump Loyalists’ Murder-Suicide Pact Election Fraud Letter | The Shepherd of the Hills Gazette