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Jan. 6 hearing examines Trump's pressure on DOJ to overturn his election loss

·Senior Writer
·2 min read
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The House select committee’s series of public hearings resumed Thursday with testimony from former Justice Department officials who described then-President Donald Trump's efforts to pressure them into helping the president overturn his loss in the 2020 election.

Former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, former acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue and Steven Engel, who served as assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, testified in detail about how Trump tried to get them to support his baseless claims of voter fraud.

Rosen and Donoghue described a 90-minute phone call they had with Trump in late December 2020 in which the president pleaded with them to declare that the election was "corrupt" despite being shown his claims of fraud were false.

"Just say that the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen," Trump told them, according to handwritten notes Donoghue took during their conversation.

Former assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel Steven Engel, former Acting Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen, and former acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue are sworn in before testifying Thursday. (Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)
Former assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel Steven Engel, former Acting Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen, and former acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue are sworn in before testifying Thursday. (Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

The officials also described a Jan. 3, 2021 meeting they had at the White House during which Trump considered firing Rosen and replacing him with Jeffrey Clark, an environmental lawyer in the Justice Department at the time, because Clark said he was prepared to keep investigating the president's baseless election fraud claims.

The officials later threatened to resign rather than help Trump overturn the election results.

The hearing was the fifth in a series of public presentations as the panel continues to present its findings stemming from its investigation of the events surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The committee also revealed that several Republican members of Congress who had helped Trump spread his baseless allegations about the election — including Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz — sought blanket pardons from him after the insurrection.