DOJ watchdog opens investigation into whether department officials 'engaged in an improper attempt' to overturn the 2020 election

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Sonam Sheth
·3 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
department of justice building
REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst
  • The DOJ inspector general is investigating if any department officials tried to interfere with the 2020 election results.

  • The probe "will encompass all relevant allegations that may arise" related to any current or former officials.

  • The New York Times reported earlier that Trump wanted to install a loyalist atop the DOJ to throw out Georgia's election results.

  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has launched an investigation into whether any current or former department officials "engaged in an improper attempt to have DOJ seek to alter the outcome" of the 2020 general election.

OIG announced in a press release on Monday that the investigation will include "all relevant allegations that may arise" within the scope of its jurisdiction, which covers all current and former employees but not other government officials.

"Consistent with OIG policy, we will not comment further on the investigation until it is completed," the office said, adding that it will publicly release its findings at the end of the probe in accordance with the relevant guidelines.

This news comes after The New York Times reported last week that former President Donald Trump hatched a plan with a DOJ lawyer to try to oust acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen and replace him with a loyalist who could force Georgia to overturn its election results.

According to The Times, Trump was incensed after Rosen refused to support his effort to cast doubt on then-President-elect Joe Biden's victory in Georgia. As a result, Trump reportedly wanted to replace Rosen with a DOJ lawyer and loyalist, Jeffrey Clark.

Read more: Joe Biden is hiring about 4,000 political staffers to work in his administration. Here's how 3 experts say you can boost your chances of getting one of those jobs.

Senior DOJ leaders were "stunned" when they were told of Trump's plan, The Times reported, adding that he only backed off when they unanimously threatened to resign if he carried out his efforts.

Last week's report revealed the latest in a series of steps Trump and his allies took to wield the US's primary law enforcement agency as a weapon in his crusade to throw out the 2020 election results.

  • Trump forced out Attorney General William Barr after he publicly confirmed that the DOJ did not uncover evidence of widespread voter or election fraud.

  • Trump tried and failed to strong-arm the DOJ into appointing a special counsel to investigate voter fraud claims.

  • Before he resigned, Barr acceded to Trump's repeated cries of election malfeasance and authorized investigations into voter fraud, in violation of DOJ policy.

  • Barr ordered the DOJ to roll back a longstanding policy that stopped prosecutors from taking investigative steps that could affect the outcome of an election.

Outside of eyeing the DOJ for his efforts, Trump's campaign and Republicans across the country filed dozens of lawsuits seeking to nullify the election results in battleground states that the former president lost, including Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Nevada, and Arizona. Aside from one minor victory that did not materially affect the election results, Republicans lost every single case.

Earlier this month, in a last-ditch effort to take back the White House after losing the popular vote and the Electoral College, Trump incited thousands of his supporters to march to the US Capitol and block Congress from finalizing Biden's win.

The failed insurrection resulted in five deaths and Trump's second impeachment by the House of Representatives. The DOJ has since charged more than 100 people with a range of felony counts. Many of the defendants' lawyers are blaming the former president for catalyzing the deadly riot, and the acting US attorney in Washington, DC, also did not rule out investigating Trump's role in the event.

Read the original article on Business Insider