Officials from the Department of Justice said that former President Donald Trump attempted to pressure the department into saying there was significant corruption in the 2020 election during the House Select Committee’s hearing on the January 6 attack on the Capitol on Thursday, June 23. The focus of the hearing was how Trump attempted to use the Justice Department to overturn the results of the 2020 election, despite there being no evidence to support his claims.
Kinzinger: How did the president respond?
Donoghue: He responded, What I’m just asking you to do is just say it was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican Congressmen. pic.twitter.com/XrXXq7PpMw
— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) June 23, 2022
Former Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue revealed the details of a late-night conversation that he’d had with Trump and former Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, where he said he was taking notes, because the president had made a claim about voter fraud that he hadn’t heard prior. He also said that he told Trump that the Justice Department has a “limited role” and doesn’t act as “quality control” for the states. Donoghue noted that the acting AG had told Trump, “[the] DOJ can’t and won’t snap its fingers and change the outcome of the election.”
Donoghue said that Trump responded by telling him that he wanted the Justice Department to say that the election was corrupt, which is a lie. “He responded very quickly and said essentially, ‘That’s not what I’m asking you to do. What I’m just asking you to do is just say it was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen,’” Donoghue explained. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) read another note that the acting Deputy AG wrote which said that Trump kept telling him to say that it was an “illegal, corrupt” election.
Kinzinger asked once more if there was corruption in the 2020 election, and Donoghue explained that there were definitely not enough instances of fraud to overturn the election in Trump’s favor. “There were isolated instances of fraud. None of them came close to calling into question the outcome of the election in any individual state,” he said.
In earlier committee hearings, clips of former Attorney General Bill Barr’s testimony were shown, where he also said that he’d repeatedly told Trump that there wasn’t evidence of fraud. “I told the President in no uncertain terms that I did not see evidence of fraud that would have affected the outcome of the election. And frankly, a year and a half later, I haven’t seen anything to change my mind on that,” he said.
The hearing came after an emotional testimony on Tuesday where former Georgia election worker Wandrea Moss testified about her experiences receiving death threats after Trump made claims about her and her mother working to rig the election. Other than Moss’ testimony, a deposition with her mother Ruby Freeman was played where she explained how hurtful the claims were to her. “There is nowhere I feel safe. Nowhere,” she said.
Many public officials have been called to testify in the hearings investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol. Earlier in the Tuesday hearing, Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, and GA Secretary of State Chief Operating Officer Gabriel Sterling all testified on Tuesday to speak about the pressure that Trump put on them to send electors that would favor him to try to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
The third hearing focused on former Vice President Mike Pence and the pressure that Trump put on him in an attempt to reverse the results of the election in his favor, including up to the morning of the January 6 attack. During the hearing, it was revealed just how close rioters who had invaded the building came to getting to Pence, and his former counsel seemed shocked to learn that they were within 40 feet of the former vice president. “I can hear the din of the rioters in the building while we moved, but I don’t think I was aware that they were as close as that,” he said.
The committee has called for more politicians to sit down for interviews to provide more information that could help the investigation. The committee has requested Georgia Republican Congressman Barry Loudermilk to provide more information about a tour he gave to a group of people on January 5, who later attended the January 6 rally.