The fifth public session of the committee investigating the assault on Capitol Hill demonstrates the president’s attempt to put in a puppet attorney general
Multiple names of Republican congressmen who sought pardons from the president before he left office are revealed
The fifth public hearing of the committee investigating the assault on the Capitol has left this Thursday the most revealing portrait of what close that was donald trump to give a coup in the United States, even before the violence broke out on January 6 with a mob harangued by him who tried to stop the certification of the electoral votes that gave the legitimate victory to Joe Biden.
Centered on the pressure that the Republican made to the Department of Justice, The session has left for history a phrase that Trump pronounced on December 27 urging the leaders of that Department, which had investigated and rejected that his accusations of fraud had any basis or credibility: “Simply say that (the elections) were corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen & rdquor;.
At the edge of the abyss
The session also forces a date to be marked on the plot calendar: January 3, 2021. That Sunday, in a meeting in the Oval Office, Trump was about to take over from acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, to replace it by Jeffrey Clarkan environmental lawyer “absolutely incompetent” for the position according to his own bosses and with no experience in criminal investigations, who was willing to implicate the Department of Justice in the plot of Trump and his allies. In fact, the committee has revealed that the White House already recorded hours before that meeting in its records of visits and calls to Clark as acting attorney general.
Clark had been working with Ken Klukowski, a lawyer recently transferred to Justice from the White House, where he had been collaborating with John Eastman, the lawyer who hatched the “coup draft & rdquor; and for weeks he had been designing the plot. Klukowski apparently worked simultaneously with Eastman in pressuring Mike Pence not to certify the results and in Justice with Clark. And in this last field he helped Clark to prepare a letter that he had ready if he were appointed by Trump to send to Georgia state authorities.
in the letter falsely claimed that the Department of Justice had “identified significant concerns & rdquor; that could alter the outcome of the elections. It was not true, and the president had been repeatedly informed of it, both by White House advisers and lawyers and even directly by his second attorney general, William Barr, who told him that the allegations were “absolute garbage & rdquor ; and “crazy & rdquor ;.
The letter also urged the Georgian authorities to send “a separate list of electors” in favor of Trump instead of the legitimate ones that Congress should have counted and that, reflecting the popular vote, were electoral votes for Biden.
Rosen and Richard Donoghue, number two acting Justice, had refused to sign that letter, whose model was intended to be replicated with other states questioned by Trump and his allies. That is why the Republican considered putting Clark in the position, who was willing to send her. And if he had done so, the election results would have been called into question and chaos would have ensued.
“What do I have to lose?”
Trump had been publicly attacking the Justice Department for some time and accusing it of being “missing in action.” He also exerted almost daily and useless pressure on Rosen. And a few days before the Oval Office meeting, he already spoke to him about his possible replacement by Clark, to which Rosen replied: “Mr. President, you can have the leadership you want, but understand that the Department of Justice works on facts, evidence and the law and those they are not going to changer”.
That January 3 in the Oval Office, however, Trump insisted on the change and in the meeting he even asked “what do I have to lose?” And he only gave up on the idea of promoting Clark when Donoghue and another top Justice, Steven Engel, who were also there and testified like Rosen on Thursday, warned him that they would resign if he did.
They also warned him that he would face a cascade of hundreds of resignations of other high officials and employees of the Department. And those Justice leaders also had the backing of White House legal advisers like Pat Cipollone and Eric Herschmann.
Conspiracy theories and pardons
In addition to once again exposing the bizarre and dangerous characters that Trump surrounded himself with, this Thursday’s session has focused on how he and his allies fed on conspiracy theories to maintain their fraudulent accusations of wrongdoing. And when there has been talk of one in which an Italian defense contractor allegedly conspired with the CIA to switch votes from Trump to Biden via satellite (which has been defined as “patently absurd & rdquor;), it has been reported that the president even told those responsible for justice who discredited her: “maybe you don’t follow the internet like I do & rdquor ;.
The hearing has also revealed that numerous congressmen who endorsed and propagated Trump’s lies and plot to try to invalidate the election results they sought to obtain a presidential pardon preemptivelyeither personally or being included in a massive pardon that Trump was speculated to consider granting before leaving the White House for all staff connected in any way to the events that preceded the storming of the Capitol.
Among those who have been designated this Thursday directly as applicants for that pardon are Jim Jordan, Mo Brooks, Matt Gaetz, Andy Biggs, Louie Gohmert. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Scott Perry. The latter is a congressman from Pennsylvania who brought Jeffrey Clark to a meeting with Trump in December.
“The only reason I know to ask for forgiveness is because you think you have committed a crime & rdquor;underlined Congressman Adam Kinzinger, along with Liz Cheney, the only Republican among the nine members of the committee investigating the Capitol and who has been the one who has borne the brunt of the hearing this Thursday.
The next two public sessions are planned for July.