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Refusing To Testify About January 6, Jeffrey Clark Risks Prosecution

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Former Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division Jeffrey Clark, a key figure in former President Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election, apparently refused to answer questions during his Friday testimony before the House Select Committee investigating the January 6th Capitol riots.

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Bombshell Report Reveals How Justice Lawyers Finally Foiled Trump Coup

Citing the new Senate Judiciary Committee report on Donald Trump's efforts to subvert the 2020 election, the Washington Post's Aaron Blake says that it reveals fresh details about the ex-president's alleged plot.

"The revelations include that a top ally in the DOJ, Jeffrey Clark, appeared to threaten and bargain with top DOJ officials to get them to release a letter legitimizing Trump's baseless voter fraud claims, and that Trump specifically lamented to then-acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen than Rosen would not help him 'overturn the election,'" Blake writes.

According to Blake, the Republican defense to the revelations basically amounts to, 'Yeah, but at least Trump didn't follow through with the plan," but there are several problems with this defense, one being that it "harkens back to what Republicans said about Trump's actions vis-a-vis Ukraine in his first impeachment — that yes, he moved to withhold aid from Ukraine if it didn't give him dirt on his political opponents, but that he ultimately relented."

Blake writes that it wasn't Trump's conscience that stopped the plot from going through, it was the fact that the plot fell apart. In other words, the reasoning wasn't "this is the wrong thing to do." It was, "this won't work."

"The other key point is that this plot was apparently very much set in motion," Blake writes. "While Trump never actually fired Rosen, it did get to the point where Clark, according to Rosen's testimony, literally told Rosen that's what had happened. The situation was only defused after Rosen demanded to actually get the news from the president."Read the full article at The Washington Post.

The bombshell Senate report also identified the pro-Trump lawmaker who help install "coup" advocates at the Justice Department. WATCH:

Rosen Testifies About Trump Coup Attempt At Justice Department

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

The full scope of the Trump administration's efforts to nullify an American presidential election is just beginning to come into view. Trump and his top allies engaged in an orchestrated, three-pronged plan to use federal officials to cast illegitimate doubts on the integrity of the election, explicitly pressure state officials to "find" votes or otherwise alter vote totals, and counter the official congressional acknowledgement of the election's results with an organized mob assembled specifically to "march" to the Capitol and intimidate the lawmakers carrying out that constitutionally mandated process. It was an attempted coup by Trump and his deputies, one that Trump himself continued to press even after that coup had exploded into violence.

The New York Times reported that Trump's acting attorney general, Jeffrey Rosen, gave closed-door testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Saturday. The subject of the testimony was the interactions between Rosen and Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark as Clark attempted, on Trump's behalf, to press the Justice Department into issuing false claims suggesting that they were investigating election "fraud" of the sort that Trump's propagandists were claiming as the reason for Trump's loss. It was untrue, and the top two Justice officials rejected Clark's repeated proposals.

Transparently, it was an attempt by Clark and other Trump allies to throw the nation into chaos by claiming the election was so flawed that its results must be overturned—a claim which Trump's hard-right team believed would force the assembling Congress to erase the election's counted votes and, somehow, reinstall Trump as quasilegal national leader.

All three elements of the plan came perilously close to succeeding. All three were thwarted only because individuals remained in place who believed the plan to be insanity, sedition, or both. It is the efforts by Trump-aligned officials within the federal government, using the tools granted to them by government, that elevate the events culminating in violence on January 6 from insurrection to attempted coup.

In a pivotal decision, Rosen rejected Clark's attempt, leading to yet another internal administration crisis as Trump mulled whether to fire him and install Clark in his position so that the plan could be carried out.

In a Sunday CNN appearance, Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Dick Durbin said Rosen had described Trump as being directly involved in Clark's actions. "It was real, very real, and it was very specific."

Significantly, the Times reports that Rosen scheduled his testimony "quickly" so as to allow them to go forward "before any players could ask the courts to block the proceedings." That may be a self-serving interpretation of events. As emptywheel notes, Clark's efforts to overturn the election and Trump's aborted move to fire Rosen and install Clark as acting attorney general was the subject of news reporting in January, even before Trump's second impeachment trial took place. The Senate Judiciary began their requests for documents pertaining to the plan near-immediately, and have been battling the Department of Justice for testimony ever since.

A half-year delay in gaining testimony about a "very real" and "very specific" attempt to overthrow the duly elected next administration by coup does not make it sound like anyone involved is attempting to provide evidence "quickly."

Most significantly of all, perhaps, is that the United States Senate could have investigated the Trump team's plot during the impeachment trial meant to gather evidence and come to judgment on Trump's behavior. For the second time, it did not do so. It avoided examining the evidence, rushing through the trial to again get to the inevitable close of having nearly all Republican lawmakers back Trump's actions, even after they had resulted in violence.

The job now falls to the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection: The moves that Clark, Meadows, and other Trump officials made to falsely discredit the election results were intended to provide the backing by which willing insurrectionists could justify their demands that the Constitution be tossed aside for the sake of Trump's reinstallation. The job also falls to federal investigators who now need to examine—swiftly—the criminality of the schemes.

It was not, however, a "Trump" coup. Donald Trump, a known liar and semi-delusional blowhard, had few government powers that would allow him to singlehandedly erase state election counts or make official his declarations that he had lost, after a disastrous single term, only through "fraud" concocted against him. It required the cooperation of top Republican allies, of Republican Party officials, of lawmakers, and others that would press the false claims and work both within and outside of government to give them false legitimacy.

It was a Republican coup, an act of sedition backed with specific acts from Mark Meadows, from Jeffrey Clark, from senators such as Josh Hawley, from state Republican officials who eagerly seized on the conspiracy claims specifically so that they could be used to overturn elections they had lost, and from everyday Republican supporters who decided that the zero-evidence nationalist propaganda they were swallowing up was justification enough to storm the U.S. Capitol by force in an overt attempt to erase a democratic election.

Here we sit, waiting with bated breath as evidence dribbles out describing the full scope of what the entire world saw in realtime, from last November to January: top Republican officials spreading knowingly false, propagandistic claims intended to undermine the integrity of our democratic elections so as to justify simply changing that election's results and declaring themselves the victors. It was a fascist act. It continues in the states, as state Republican lawmakers use the same brazenly false claims peddled by Clark to impose new hurdles to voting meant to keep at least some fraction of the Americans who voted against the party last time from being able to vote at all the next time.

A bit more urgency is required, here.

The Sedition Caucus, Under Oath

It is an indisputable fact that House Republicans, including Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, were at the very heart of former President Donald Trump's coup plot to overturn the 2020 presidential election. While more than hints and clues have pointed to their involvement ever since the January 6 insurrection, their central role emerged this past week when notes of a December 27, 2020, conversation between Trump and the acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen were disclosed.

Informed by Rosen that the Department of Justice could not and would not reverse President Joe Biden's election victory, Trump urged him to "just say the election was corrupt [and] leave the rest to me and the [Republican] congressmen." Moments later, Trump referred specifically to Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, founder of the Freedom Caucus and close associate of Mark Meadows, the former Freedom Caucus chair who left Congress to become Trump's White House chief of staff.

Jordan is so far unwilling to say whether he will testify about the insurrection if he is summoned, just as he refused years ago to assist official inquiries into hundreds of sexual assaults on the Ohio State wrestling team in which he was suspected of complicity or worse. But this time, if the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol requests his appearance, either voluntarily or by subpoena, he will have to show up or face legal consequences. So will several other members of the Capitol Hill "sedition caucus" who sought to invalidate Biden's election, including McCarthy and Arizona Reps. Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs, Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks, and Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert, to name a few of the most prominent.

And so will their longtime confederate Meadows, who has already been subpoenaed by the House Oversight Committee in the Rosen matter and "may face significant criminal exposure," according to the Just Security website published by New York University School of Law.

Each of these Republican myrmidons has serious questions to answer. Brooks, donning a flak jacket when he addressed the pre-riot Trumpist rally at the Ellipse on January 6 calling for "kicking ass," has claimed immunity, a justification denied by the DOJ. Boebert allegedly gave a tour through the Capitol with unknown persons later identified as insurrectionists in December and January. "Stop the Steal" organizer Ali Alexander boasted of concocting a plan to intimidate Congress from certifying the election with Gosar, Biggs, and Brooks.

Jordan was implicated in the coup effort very early, even before Election Day, when he publicly accused Democrats of planning to corrupt the balloting. In the weeks leading up to the insurrection, he plotted with Meadows and Trump at the White House; in the days afterward, he was given the Medal of Freedom by Trump in a closed ceremony there. It is undoubtedly the first time that high honor has been awarded for seditious conspiracy against the Republic.

As the Lincoln historian and former presidential adviser Sidney Blumenthal pointed out in a recent Guardian column, members of Congress possess no immunity against a subpoena from a House investigating committee. Moreover, as Blumenthal also noted, there is richly ironic precedent to summon all of these characters, voluntarily or otherwise, in the official Senate probe of John Brown's infamous Harpers Ferry raid on the eve of the Civil War. Leading that investigation was none other than Mississippi Sen. Jefferson Davis, the traitor who later served as president of the Confederacy (whose battle flag soiled the Capitol hallways on January 6.)

Harper's Ferry was the last domestic insurrection to come under congressional scrutiny — until now. Among the witnesses called to testify about the events leading up to Brown's attack were two antislavery Republican senators suspected by Davis of knowing or aiding him. And it is safe to say that Rep. Adam Schiff, the California Democrat, Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, and other Democrats on the committee are aware of that precedent.

Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, one of two Republicans named to the committee by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has suggested that Jordan and McCarthy, both of whom spoke with Trump on January 6, should be called — and a very large and rapt television audience awaits her questioning of them.

Meadows, who spent that day and the days preceding the insurrection with Trump in the White House and knows what the former president did and didn't do, will have to face the music. It will not be the last time he's been caught in a coup. In January 2013, when he conspired with Jordan to overthrow Republican House Speaker John Boehner, he was exposed in the failed attempt. He later came to the speaker's office, according to Boehner, got down on his knees, and pleaded, "Will you please forgive me?" Meadows will undoubtedly have another opportunity to get on his knees soon.

These ultra-right Republicans are the face of an authoritarian and frankly nihilist insurgency that began its takeover of the Grand Old Party back when their model Newt Gingrich rose to power as speaker. It is no surprise that this miscreant crew now surrounds their would-be dictator Trump like a praetorian guard, or that they spearheaded his attempt to destroy democracy. But the time is rapidly approaching when they will have to answer for those actions under oath. Of course, Jordan and Meadows and Brooks and Boebert and the other members of the gang can always plead the Fifth Amendment.

To find out more about Joe Conason and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com

The Trump Phone Call That May Have Sparked Insurrection

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Former President Donald Trump was relentless in his efforts to overturn the presidential election. Although he has adamantly insisted that his actions were not an attempt at a coup, there is reportedly evidence indicating that it was. According to The Daily Beast, details have been revealed about Trump's phone call that may have led to the attempted coup at the U.S. Capitol.

The Department of Justice has provided Congress with documentation of the call Trump placed to outline his grievances of presumed voter fraud. At the time, the call had been taken by Acting. Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen.

Per the publication:

"According to documents that the Justice Department has now turned over to Congress, and that were made public for the first time on Friday, Trump called to discuss his phony voter fraud claims, as if the very political William Barr hadn't conceded, on his way out the door, that despite looking, he'd found none."

With no real evidence of voter fraud, Beast columnist Margaret Carlson notes how Trump turned to what she describes as his "people tell me" tactic.

At the time, Trump reportedly claimed:

"Thousands of people' called, complaining to him about the election, the inaction of DOJ, and how none of them 'trust the FBI." Other "people" say how great Jeff Clark is, as in the acting chief of the civil division who supported all things Trump. People wanted Trump to "replace DOJ leadership" with him.

The publically released details about the phone call "are a roadmap to Trump's twisted thinking," the writer explains. Trump claimed he could get a number of so-called "allies" on board to back his claims of voter fraud if he could just get the Department of Justice to sign off in support of his mission. Disturbingly, the majority of House Republican lawmakers had no problem blindly following the embattled former president which only caused more chaos.

Despite his denial of an attempted coup, the details of the call indicate that Trump's actions were not just an example of an impulsive decision, but could rather be described as a twisted concoction of thinking he dwelled on before attempting to execute.

‘Bombshell’ Notes Expose Trump’s Post-Election Scheme To Corrupt Justice Department

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Lawmakers in the House Oversight Committee released new evidence on Friday of former President Donald Trump's extensive pressure campaign to use the Justice Department to help him overturn the result of the 2020 presidential election in the final days of his administration.

Notes from conversations between the president and DOJ officials detail his aggressive push to have the department validate the wild conspiracy theories about election fraud that he fomented, despite the lack of evidence.

On December 27, when told the department couldn't "snap its fingers" and "change the outcome of the election," Trump said, "Don't expect you to do that, just say that the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me and the R. Congressmen," according to the notes.

These new revelations follow a recent report from the Washington Post that Trump called acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen about the election almost daily at the end of 2020 about the election. Bill Barr had resigned as attorney general in part because of his split with Trump on the legitimacy of the election

Publicizing notes of communications between the president and the heads of administration departments is highly unusual, but the Biden administration concluded that it was an "extraordinary circumstance" to have "congressional investigators...examining potential wrongdoing by a sitting president," according to the New York Times.

Trump repeatedly pressed the department to investigate the wild claims of election fraud that percolated in right-wing media and corners of the internet at the time, which were repeatedly debunked. At one point, having been told that certain claims he was pushing were simply untrue, Trump reportedly responded: "Ok fine — but what about the others?"

According to the notes, he also told the DOJ officials: "You guys may not be following the internet the way I do."

Perhaps one of the most significant revelations is that Trump was recorded as directly threatening the officials' jobs based on their handling of the investigation. The New York Times explained:In a moment of foreshadowing, Mr. Trump said, "people tell me Jeff Clark is great, I should put him in," referring to the acting head of the Justice Department's civil division, who had also encouraged department officials to intervene in the election. "People want me to replace D.O.J. leadership."
"You should have the leadership you want," Mr. Donoghue replied. But it "won't change the dept's position."
Mr. Donoghue and Mr. Rosen did not know that Mr. Perry had introduced Mr. Clark and Mr. Trump. Exactly one week later, they would be forced to fight Mr. Clark for their jobs in an Oval Office showdown.

George Conway, a conservative lawyer, argued on Twitter that the evidence could support a potential criminal case against the president.

‘Pure Insanity’: Emails Show Trump Urging Justice Officials To Overturn 2020 Election

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Emails released on Tuesday reveal just how far former President Donald Trump went to pressure the Department of Justice to overturn his 2020 election loss to President Joe Biden, with everyone from Trump's personal assistant to Trump's chief of staff Mark Meadows contacting top Justice officials to ask them to back up Trump's wild lies about voter fraud and even file lawsuits to invalidate the results of multiple states.

The emails were part of a report from the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, which found that multiple top Trump aides and allies reached out to then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen asking him to file a lawsuit with the Supreme Court to overturn the results in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Nevada — all states Biden won.

Another email showed that Meadows tried to push Rosen to "look into" baseless and absurd allegations from an ally of Trump campaign lawyer Rudy Giuliani that Italy used military technology to switch votes from Trump to Biden. And yet another email revealed that Meadows sought to force Rosen to look into "allegations of signature match anomalies in Fulton County, Ga."

The emails show Rosen was aghast at the pressure campaign.

"Can you believe this? I am not going to respond to the message below," Rosen wrote in an email to acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue of Meadow's demand that Rosen "engage" with the signature mismatch lie.

Rosen also said he "flatly refused" to meet with the Giuliani ally who was pushing the absurd Italy conspiracy theory, stating he "would not be giving any special treatment to Giuliani or any of his 'witnesses,' and re-affirmed yet again that I will not talk to Giuliani about any of this."

Donoghue called the efforts from the White House and other Trump aides to get them to aid in the effort to overturn the election "pure insanity."

Ultimately, the Department of Justice never filed any lawsuits to overturn the election.

And the band of crackpot Trump supporters who did file lawsuits — such as Giuliani, Sidney Powell, and Lin Wood — all lost their lawsuits seeking to overturn the results. In fact, Giuliani and Powell now face libel lawsuits from voting machine companies that could put them in financial ruin. Powell also faces the possibility of court-ordered sanctions.

House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney wrote in a news release that the emails provide proof that Trump engaged in "a brazen attempt to overturn an election that he lost."

"Those who aided or witnessed President Trump's unlawful actions must answer the Committee's questions about this attempted subversion of democracy," Maloney (D-NY) wrote.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.