Trump’s pressure on US Justice Department to heed January 6 hearing

By Richard Cowan and Moira Warburton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Donald Trump’s failed attempts to pressure Justice Department officials to reverse his 2020 election defeat will be the subject of the U.S. Congress hearing Thursday examining his supporters’ attack on US Capitol of January 6, 2021 is investigating.

The hearing, which begins at 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT), will take the public to the White House on Jan. 3, 2021, when there was a discussion about then-President Trump potentially firing Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and him. to replace. with Jeffrey Clark, a staunch Trump supporter.

Rosen is scheduled to testify before the U.S. House of Representatives selection committee along with former acting deputy attorney general Richard Donoghue and former assistant attorney general in the office of legal counsel Steven Engel.

Justice Department officials were also asked to take steps to encourage some states, such as Arizona and Georgia, to take Trump victories over Democrat Joe Biden, according to committee officials, even though Biden was the winner in those matches.

Thursday’s hearing, the fifth this month, will examine how, in the waning days of his presidency, Trump “used the Justice Department for his own personal needs” to remain in power after Jan. 20, 2021, a committee official said.

For more than a year, the panel has been investigating the role Trump and his associates played in events leading up to the January 6 attack on the Capitol, where Congress would formally confirm Biden’s victory.

In a fiery speech outside the White House that day, Trump spoke of the need to reverse his election defeat. His angry supporters fought their way into the Capitol, injuring dozens of police officers and sending lawmakers and then Vice President Mike Pence on the run for their lives.

Four people died on the day of the attack, one fatally shot by police and the others of natural causes. Some 140 police officers were injured, and one of the rioters died the next day. Four officers later died by suicide.

Nearly 850 people have been arrested for crimes related to the riots, including more than 250 people accused of assaulting or obstructing law enforcement.

Trump has attributed his defeat to widespread fraud, although dozens of courts, state election officials and members of Trump’s own administration have rejected his claims, with multiple witnesses testifying that they have told Trump so.

Trump has repeatedly hinted that he could run for president again in 2024.

Thursday’s hearing is expected to include both live and videotaped testimony from former officials and associates of the Republican former president.

They will testify, aides say, that Justice Department officials were pressured to publicly declare electoral fraud and were urged to either file lawsuits for, or in conjunction with, Trump’s re-election campaign to overthrow the presidential election. contest the election results.

The hearing will highlight how a few senior Republican Justice Department officials are opposing the Trump-led pressure campaign.

Testimonials are expected to show that shortly after the 2020 election, Clark drafted a letter, which was never sent to Georgia’s state lawmakers, falsely claiming that the department found concerns that may have affected election results there and elsewhere.

The letter urged state lawmakers to call a special session to reverse the election results there, but Rosen and Donoghue declined to send it.

Clark has said little publicly about his actions during the final weeks of Trump’s presidency. Earlier this year, he called himself “one of the top targets of the politically motivated J6 committee” on Twitter.

(Reporting by Richard Cowan and Moira Warburton; editing by Scott Malone and Howard Goller)

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