June 27, 2022

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DoJ officials resisted Donald Trump’s pressure to overturn election, January 6 committee hears

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Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election was thwarted at the last minute in part because of the resistance of some of his top legal officials, who threatened to quit during a tense Oval Office meeting, a Congressional committee has heard.

Three of the former president’s most senior lawyers testified on Thursday in front of the bipartisan panel investigating last year’s attack on the US Capitol, laying out their recollections of the final days of the Trump administration.

The hearing focused on Trump’s campaign to put pressure on the Department of Justice to back his false claims of voter fraud, which the three men said only failed because they threatened to quit en masse. The committee also revealed that in the aftermath of the failure of the plot, several Trump allies requested a presidential pardon.

Adam Kinzinger, one of two Republican members of the committee, said: “We owe a great debt of gratitude to these men . . . They threatened to resign rather than corrupt our democracy. And thanks largely to each of them, president Trump’s coup failed.”

On the pardons, Kinzinger added: “The only reason I know to ask for a pardon, because you think you’ve committed a crime.”

The committee has held five televised hearings laying out the findings of its investigations into the events of January 6 2021, when a mob of Trump supporters stormed the US Congress in an attempt to prevent Joe Biden being declared president.

Thursday’s hearing was one of the most dramatic of the live sessions so far, thanks largely to a detailed account of a crunch meeting between Trump and some of his most senior legal officials on Sunday January 3.

Three of those who attended that meeting — Jeffrey Rosen, the former acting attorney-general; Richard Donoghue, who worked as his deputy; and Steve Engel, who was one of the president’s legal advisers — testified in front of the committee.

They described how they sought the meeting after Jeffrey Clark,…

2022-06-23 19:03:14

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