Six of Spades: Jeffrey Clark, Trump Co-Conspirator #4, secretly sought to overturn 2020 election, proposed military force to quell protests

 

 

 

 

 

 

Justice, if rightly understood, Plato argues, is not to the exclusive advantage of any of the city’s factions, but is concerned with the common good of the whole political community, and is to the advantage of everyone. It provides the city with a sense of unity, and thus, is a basic condition for its health.

– J. Korab-Karpowicz, https://iep.utm.edu/platopol/#H1

 

Jeffrey Clark, ambitious to the bone, a stranger to Plato and the common good . . .

[Excerpts:]

Special counsel Jack Smith has compelled at least two Republican fake electors to testify to a federal grand jury in Washington in recent weeks by giving them limited immunity, part of a current push by federal prosecutors to swiftly nail down evidence in the sprawling criminal investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

In recent weeks, the special counsel’s office has also shown interest in several members of Trump’s post-election legal team who promoted baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, including his former lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, as well as former Justice Department appointee Jeffrey Clark, who tried to help Trump’s push to use the Department of Justice to overturn the election.

Giuliani played a key role in overseeing the fake electors plot across seven battleground states as part of the broader push to overturn the 2020 presidential election results for Trump, as CNN has previously reported.

Prosecutors have also continued to focus on potential financial crimes and money laundering after Trump raised millions of dollars off false claims the election was stolen. One former Trump campaign official who testified this month before the grand jury was asked about specific campaign ads and messaging produced as part of those fundraising activities, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Multiple 2020 election witnesses are scheduled for grand jury appointments in the coming days, sources say.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Judge clears way for disciplinary proceedings against Trump ally Jeffrey Clark

D.C. Bar authorities charged Clark, a top ally in the effort to undermine the results of the 2020 presidential election, with engaging in “dishonest” conduct.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clark, an assistant attorney general in Trump’s Justice Department — whom Trump considered naming acting attorney general amid his final, frenzied bid to remain in power — had tied up those proceedings for nearly eight months as he sought to transfer the battle to federal court.

But U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras rejected Clark’s effort on Thursday, issuing a 36-page opinion concluding that federal courts have no jurisdiction over disciplinary proceedings meant to be managed by the D.C. Bar and local courts.

D.C. Bar authorities charged Clark in July 2022 with engaging in “dishonest” conduct and seeking to “seriously interfere with the administration of justice” when he embarked on a weekslong effort to help Trump sow doubt about the results of the 2020 election.

In the weeks before Trump left office, Clark — then the acting head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division — spearheaded the drafting of a letter urging state governments in states won by Joe Biden to consider convening their legislatures and revisiting the results of the election. He leaned on Justice Department leaders to send the letter but was repeatedly rebuffed.

But Clark continued pressing to issue the letter and, with the help of Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), caught the attention of Trump, who was prepared to make Clark the acting attorney general in early January 2021 — until a mass resignation threat by senior Justice Department officials caused him to reverse his decision. Clark’s involvement in the episode has drawn intense scrutiny from federal prosecutors, who raided his home a year ago, and the Jan. 6 select committee, which highlighted Clark’s role in Trump’s bid to subvert the election during its public hearings.

In his legal filings, Clark contended that the D.C. Bar proceedings — which could result in his suspension or disbarment from law practice in Washington — are improper to bring against someone who worked as an attorney in the federal government. The District of Columbia, Clark contended, was specifically exempted from federal laws granting states the authority over bar discipline.

But Contreras sharply rejected Clark’s assessment of the history of these laws.

“To accept Mr. Clark’s position would be to subscribe to the absurd proposition that Congress chose to make these officials subject to jurisdictional rules of professional conduct everywhere except where they work.” he argued. “That D.C. is home to, by far, the most government lawyers in the country only compounds this absurdity.”

Contreras’ ruling could kickstart a proceeding that has been used against other officials connected to Trump’s bid to stay in power. D.C. Bar authorities temporarily suspended Rudy Giuliani’s law license after two weeks of proceedings there and are due to make a final determination on his potential disbarment imminently. California Bar authorities are preparing to try John Eastman, an architect of Trump’s bid to derail the transfer of power, over the next few weeks.

But Clark has so far successfully stymied D.C. Bar investigators’ bid to advance their inquiry since filing suit in October.

In his ruling, Contreras noted that the federal law itself, which was amended in 1998, was rooted, in part, in Democrats’ concerns about the conduct of then-Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr and his investigation of then-President Bill Clinton.

“This context, including broad upset among President Clinton’s supporters over a perception of prosecutorial overreach, affected Congress’s consideration,” Contreras noted. Congress added the independent counsel to the jurisdiction of the D.C. Bar authorities, which Contreras said underscored the fact that Congress intended those provisions to apply to lawyers working for the federal government.

Clark, in his filings, also argue that D.C. Bar proceedings have features of both civil and criminal proceedings that can be legally redirected to federal court. But Contreras rejected that view, as well, saying bar discipline proceedings are neither civil nor criminal and therefore not subject to the laws that provide for transferring cases out of the states.

How The Fake Electors Scheme Explains Everything About Trump’s Attempt To Steal The 2020 Election

New materials illustrate why Fani Willis and Jack Smith have focused on this esoteric part of Trump’s plot.

Josh Kovensky

February 10, 2023

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/muckraker/how-the-fake-electors-scheme-explains-everything-about-trumps-attempt-to-steal-the-2020-election?
[Excerpts:]

Instead of a series of disconnected, disparate schemes all aimed at the same goal, the fake electors plot provides a lens through which to view the entire effort, giving Trump’s 2020 plans a coherence, with each piece fitting neatly together. Now, two years after the violence of Jan. 6, this fresh look at the scheme reinforces how efforts to spread conspiracy theories, subvert the DOJ, weaponize state legislatures, summon an angry mob and, ultimately, pressure the vice president on Jan. 6 were all part of the same plot, with fake electors at the center.

Though much of Trumpworld quickly cottoned on to the fake electors scheme, the origins of the plan remain murky. The Atlantic’s Barton Gellman reported in September 2020 that versions of the scheme were already being discussed; he cited “sources in the Republican Party at the state and national levels.” 

But what these schemes all have in common is that they rely on the fake electors to move forward. 

Take pressure on the state legislatures. 

Per the plan, the Trump campaign would need not only to swear in fake electors regardless of whether it won the underlying state, but also persuade the state legislatures to intervene in the election and certify the votes for Trump — regardless of which candidate won the state. 

But the legislatures would need some convincing that the election was fraudulent, or at least unable to be decided. That’s where the increasingly harebrained conspiracy theories came in — desperate bids to sway state legislators who could, some believed, de-certify Biden’s electors. Court cases repeating these claims — the overwhelming majority of which were unsuccessful — were seen as largely aimed at the same audience. 

As the weeks progressed, Trump eyed the DOJ to apply additional pressure on the states. If officials could declare that the election was fraudulent, or send a letter to the state legislatures asking for a session to appoint the fake electors as the real ones, that could swing things his way.

Ken Klukowski, an attorney who worked for the Trump campaign during the election, joined the DOJ in mid-December for a brief, six-week stint. There, he worked as an aide to Jeffrey Bossert Clark, the acting assistant attorney general for the civil division.

Together, Clark and Klukowski drafted a letter declaring that the DOJ had “identified significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election in multiple States.” It went on, wielding the authority of federal law enforcement, to advise states to do what the schemers behind the fake electors plot wanted, stating that, “The Department believes that in Georgia and several other States, both a slate of electors supporting Joseph R. Biden, Jr., and a separate slate of electors supporting Donald J. Trump, gathered on that day at the proper location to cast their ballots, and that both sets of those ballots have been transmitted to Washington, D.C., to be opened by Vice President Pence.”

The letter failed amid opposition from senior DOJ officials, and was never sent out. Its exact origins remain unclear, but the committee found evidence that Klukowski and Clark were in close contact with Eastman throughout this period. 

Clark and Eastman spoke at least five times between Jan. 1 and Jan. 8, while Klukowski, who drafted the letter, spoke with Eastman at least four times between Dec. 22 and Jan. 2, according to committee materials.

A similar dynamic played out as Trump applied pressure to state officials.

The infamous call that Trump placed to Raffensperger was in part focused on having Raffensperger re-certify the result. Instead of the Biden electors, Raffensperger would re-certify the Trump electors, sending them to Congress on Jan. 6.

“Under the law you’re not allowed to give faulty election results, OK? You’re not allowed to do that. And that’s what you done,” Trump told Raffensperger on the infamous Jan. 2 phone call. “This is a faulty election result. And honestly, this should go very fast. You should meet tomorrow because you have a big election coming up and because of what you’ve done to the president.”

 

Final Report of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol

Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union and ordered to be printed.

December 22, 2022.

[Excerpt:]

The findings of the Committee include the following:

. . .

4. Donald Trump sought to corrupt the U.S. Department of Justice by attempting to enlist Department officials to make purposely false statements and thereby aid his effort his effort to overturn the Presidential election. After that effort failed, Donald Trump offered the position of Acting Attorney General to Jeff Clark knowing that Clark intended to disseminate false information aimed at overturning the election. [Boldface added]

. . .

12. Each of these actions by Donald Trump was taken in support of a multi-part conspiracy to overturn the lawful results of the 2020 election.

https://www.govinfo.gov/collection/january-6th-committee-final-report?path=/gpo/January%206th%20Committee%20Final%20Report%20and%20Supporting%20Materials%20Collection/Final%20Report/GPO-J6-REPORT

Jan. 6 committee refers Trump to Justice Dept. for criminal charges

The decision — an unprecedented move for Congress — came as the panel released a summary of its final report and met publicly for the last time

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/12/19/trump-referrals-jan-6-committee/

 

Giuliani Faces Disbarment In State Hearing Underway This Week—Sidney Powell, Lin Wood And Other 2020 Election Attorneys Could Be Next

https://www.forbes.com/sites/alisondurkee/2022/12/07/giuliani-faces-disbarment-in-state-hearing-underway-this-week-sidney-powell-lin-wood-and-other-2020-election-attorneys-could-be-next/?sh=744f3c664b17

A disciplinary hearing against Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani is taking place this week, as the lawyer faces the prospect of being disbarred for bringing litigation trying to overturn the 2020 election—and other attorneys are likely to follow, as more bar complaints and investigations remain ongoing against major 2020 election attorneys like Sidney Powell, Lin Wood and John Eastman.

KEY FACTS

Rudy Giuliani: Giuliani is now facing a hearing by the D.C. Bar’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel—which is part of a multi-step process and will not immediately result in consequences—after a D.C. court and a New York court have already temporarily suspended his law license in both those jurisdictions.

Sidney Powell: Powell, who brought lawsuits in four battleground states alleging election fraud, will go to trial on April 24, 2023, in litigation brought against her by the Commission for Lawyer Discipline at the Texas State Bar, court documents show, which could result in her being disbarred or otherwise punished for professional misconduct.

Lin Wood: Wood, who brought litigation challenging Georgia’s election and also participated in some of Powell’s lawsuits, is under investigation by the State Bar of Georgia, which the bar confirmed to Forbes Tuesday is still pending after its disciplinary board shot down Wood’s attempt to dismiss the complaint against him in August, but no hearing date has yet been set.

John Eastman:Eastman aided former President Donald Trump’s efforts to stop Congress from certifying the election on January 6, prompting an ethics investigation by the State Bar of California, which the bar confirmed to Forbes is still underway after being publicly announced in March.

Ken Paxton: The Texas attorney general was sued by the state bar’s disciplinary counsel in May over the lawsuit he filed at the Supreme Court seeking to overturn the election—causing him to retaliate against the bar as a result—and that lawsuit remains pending, though a separate complaint against his deputy attorney general was dismissed in September.

Jeffrey Clark: The former DOJ official, who aided Trump’s attempts to overturn the election from within the agency, faces a pending complaint from the D.C. Bar that was brought against him in July, and Clark asked a federal court to block the complaint in October, arguing the D.C. Bar doesn’t have jurisdiction to bring the complaint.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

Giuliani’s hearing that’s now ongoing is scheduled to wrap up by the end of next week, at which point the hearing committee at the D.C. Bar’s Board on Professional Responsibility will issue a non-binding recommendation on what punishment Giuliani should face. The case will go on to ultimately be decided by the D.C. Court of Appeals, a process that the Washington Post notes could still take months to go through. Under the bar’s rules for disciplinary action, Giuliani could face a range of punishments, from being permanently disbarred to just being formally censured or reprimanded or being put on probation. His law license in Washington, D.C., is still suspended, the D.C. Bar’s database shows, but that suspension is only temporary, so the D.C. Bar’s disciplinary process will determine whether Giuliani could have his license revoked permanently or if he could be allowed to practice law again.

CHIEF CRITIC

Giuliani has continued to defend his actions as a lawyer in testimony over the first two days of his hearing against him and decried the attempt to punish him for his post-election litigation. “I am shocked and offended this is happening to me,” Giuliani said on Tuesday. Other post-election lawyers have similarly remained defiant despite the action being taken against them, with Powell telling Forbes in June that the action being taken against her by the Texas State Bar “should concern every practicing lawyer because now any lawyer can be subjected to the extraordinary harassment and expense of lawfare directed specifically at his or her law license whenever the other side disagrees with a filing.”

WHAT WE DON’T KNOW

Which other 2020 election attorneys will face investigations and disciplinary proceedings. Activist group The 65 Project, which is dedicated to taking action against lawyers who helped efforts to overturn the election, is targeting 111 lawyers in 26 states, and has filed ethics complaints with state bars in an effort to have the attorneys punished. Those complaints have been filed as recently as October, so it may take months before they result in public reports of any concrete action. Among those who have had complaints brought against them—but have not yet been announced as being actively under investigation or sued by disciplinary committees—are Trump campaign attorney Jenna EllisCleta Mitchell, who participated in Trump’s call asking Georgia officials to “find” enough votes to overturn the election; Boris Epshteyn, who continues to advise Trump on legal issues; and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who pushed Trump’s false claims of election fraud and offered to represent the Trump campaign in post-election cases at the Supreme Court.

KEY BACKGROUND

Giuliani and many of the other right-wing attorneys now facing consequences were behind more than 60 lawsuits in the aftermath of the 2020 election that broadly challenged results in battleground states, which were nearly all unsuccessful except for one minor lawsuit in Pennsylvania. The disciplinary actions being brought by state bars are part of a broader range of consequences those attorneys have faced for their actions in the two years since the election, which have so far also included lawyers such as Powell and Wood being sanctioned in federal court in Michigan and a series of defamation lawsuits brought by voting machine companies that Powell and her allies accused of fraud. The ethics complaint against Giuliani, which was brought by the bar after his D.C. license had already been suspended, was largely focused on the lawsuit the Trump campaign brought in Pennsylvania challenging its results, with Giuliani representing the campaign. That litigation failed in court multiple times, with a district judge declaring the campaign’s legal argument was “not how the Constitution works.”

FURTHER READING

Giuliani ‘weaponized’ law license in Trump election suit, D.C. Bar argues (Washington Post)

Rudy Giuliani Defends Failed Trump 2020 Election Challenge in DC Ethics Case (Bloomberg)

Sidney Powell Could Still Be Disbarred As Court Lets Case Against Her Move Forward (Forbes)

Campaign Targets 111 Trump-Linked Election Lawyers. Here’s Some Already Facing A Backlash. (Forbes)

With Giuliani’s Law License Suspended, Here Are The Other Trump Lawyers Who May Face Discipline Next (Forbes)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Letters from an American, 

[Excerpt:]

This afternoon, Representative Scott Perry (R-PA) said the FBI has confiscated his phone after presenting him with a search warrant.

Perry was deeply involved in the attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election. He connected former president Trump with Jeffrey Clark, the environmental lawyer for the Department of Justice (DOJ) who supported Trump’s claims and who would have become acting attorney general if the leadership of the DOJ hadn’t threatened to resign as a group if Trump appointed him.

Cassidy Hutchinson, former top aide to Trump’s White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, told the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol that Meadows burned papers after a meeting with Perry.

The DOJ searched Clark’s home in June. On the same day, it seized the phone of John Eastman, the author of the memo laying out a plan for then–vice president Mike Pence to refuse to count presidential electors for Democratic candidate Joe Biden and thus throw the election to Trump.

Eastman sued to get his phone back and to force the government to destroy any information agents had taken from it; the Department of Justice says the phone was obtained legally and that purging it would be “unprecedented” and “would cause substantial detriment to the investigation, as well as seriously impede any grand jury’s use of the seized material in a future charging decision.” A court hearing on the matter is scheduled for early September.

 

Trump DOJ official cooperating with Justice Department’s criminal Jan. 6 probe

Former Justice Department staffer Ken Klukowski, who worked with Jeffrey Clark at the agency, is cooperating in the DOJ’s January 6 criminal investigation, after investigators searched and copied his electronic records several weeks ago.

“We’ve been fully cooperating both with the Department of Justice and the Select Committee, and we’ll continue with that cooperation,” Klukowski’s lawyer Ed Greim said in a statement on Thursday.
The Justice Department declined to comment.
Klukowski’s proximity to Clark suggests investigators are seeking more information about the former Justice Department lawyer. Trump had sought to install Clark as attorney general in the days before the January 6 attack on the US Capitol as top officials refused to go along with his vote fraud claims.
Last month, federal investigators conducted a search of Clark’s home as part of the agency’s sweeping investigation into the effort to overturn the 2020 elections.
The agency has already brought two top aides to former Vice President Mike Pence in front of a federal grand jury, a move that signals its probe has reached inside Trump’s White House and that investigators are looking at conduct directly related to Trump and his closest allies’ efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
CNN reported Wednesday that former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson is also cooperating with the Justice Department.
But Klukowski could provide unique insight into Clark and efforts to subvert the 2020 presidential election. He was at the center of an effort by Trump to get the Justice Department to falsely claim there was significant voter fraud in Georgia and other states that he lost.
In the days before January 6, Clark helped Trump devise a plan to oust then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, place himself atop the department, and have the DOJ intervene in Georgia to set aside its voting results in order to sway the state to Trump.
Klukowski was subpoenaed by the House select committee last year on November 9 and was seen arriving for his deposition on December 15.
This story has been updated with additional details.

 

The insurrectionists’ clubhouse: Former Trump aides find a home at a little-known MAGA hub

Nearly two dozen alleged members of the Jan. 6 plot are connected to a single Capitol Hill address.

https://www.grid.news/story/politics/2022/07/05/the-insurrectionists-clubhouse-former-trump-aides-find-a-home-at-a-little-known-maga-hub/

[Excerpts:]

The network has broad reach and keeps an eye on future elections: CPI helped found and support the election monitoring nonprofit run by ex-Trump lawyer Cleta Mitchell, along with roughly a dozen other dark money and advocacy groups, virtually all of which share the address of the CPI town house on official reporting. Mitchell did not respond to inquiries from Grid for this story.

Several of the figures of greatest interest to the Jan. 6 committee are now employed by CPI or its subsidiary groups, including:

  • Jeffrey Clark: A former Department of Justice environmental lawyer, Clark was Trump’s pick for attorney general when William Barr declined to pursue vote fraud claims. Clark allegedly circulated a letter encouraging state officials in Georgia to decertify their election results. Federal agents raided his home on June 23, the same day a committee hearing focused on him. Clark was recently hired by the CPI-founded group, the Center for Renewing America.

Asked about the ties between Clark, Patel and the CPI-linked Center for Renewing America, spokesperson Rachel Semmel said the center stands by its employees. Clark and Patel did not answer questions sent to the Center for Renewing America.

“We’re honored our Trump White House colleagues like Kash Patel and Jeff Clark are on our team to punch back against the Deep State,” Semmel said. “We only hire fighters at Renewing America.”

These organizations employ or assist at least 20 key operatives, reportedly involved in Trump’s failed effort to subvert the 2020 election, including Mitchell, ex-Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, and former Justice Department lawyer Jeffrey Clark, who was the subject of both a recent Jan. 6 hearing and an FBI raid. And they help raise millions for Trump-aligned members of Congress — more than $38 million over the 2020 and 2022 election cycles, according to the nonprofit OpenSecrets.

“They’re frauds,” said one longtime Republican strategist who has worked for major campaigns and spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person’s job could be at risk for speaking negatively. “They claim to be fiscal conservatives, but they’ve made a living off of generating conservative outrage in order to raise money for themselves.”

CPI and its affiliates are more than just a safe harbor: The network and its employees are a continued source of false vote fraud allegations, and produce and amplify defensive messaging in conservative circles responding to the major revelations of the Jan. 6 hearings.

Background:
POLITICO Playbook: The Trump plot to subvert the DOJ

https://www.politico.com/newsletters/playbook/2022/06/23/the-trump-plot-to-subvert-the-doj-00041647

EPISODE TWO: ATTACK OF THE CLOWNS — Recall that in the first hearing of the Jan. 6 committee, Rep. LIZ CHENEY (R-Wyo.) said, “Donald Trump oversaw and coordinated a sophisticated seven-part plan to overturn the presidential election and prevent the transfer of presidential power.”

Each day of hearings has been devoted to covering one or two of the seven dramatic episodes of that overall plot: 

(1) Trump’s misinformation campaign, 

(2) his effort to find a pliable A.G., 

(3) his pressure campaign on then-VP MIKE PENCE

(4) his pressure campaign on state officials, 

(5) his legal team’s effort to create fake slates of electors,

 (6) his assembling and directing the Jan. 6 mob, and 

(7) his refusal to call off the violent mob as it sacked the Capitol.

The committee has been presenting things out of order, sort of like the “Star Wars” saga. The hearings opened with granular details of Part 6 (the mob). The second hearing was largely devoted to Part 1 (misinformation). At hearing three, they explained Part 3 (Pence). Tuesday was devoted to Parts 4 (state officials) and 5 (fake electors). The full details of Part 7 (what Trump was doing in the White House on Jan. 6) seem likely to be explained in an eventual finale.

Today is devoted to Part 2, a deep dive into how Trump pressured Department of Justice officials to advance what committee members have repeatedly called an attempted coup.

Trump wanted acting A.G.JEFFREY ROSEN and Rosen’s deputy, RICHARD DONOGHUE, to cast doubt on the election and give GOP-controlled state legislatures a pretense to appoint alternate presidential electors and prevent JOE BIDEN’s victory. When these top DOJ officials wouldn’t do his bidding, Trump threatened to replace them. In response, Rosen, Donoghue and STEVEN ENGEL, who ran a key DOJ office, threatened to resign — with the strong implication that they’d take an untold number of Justice officials with them. Trump backed down, and a constitutional crisis was averted.

Who’s Jeffrey Clark?

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/justice-department/jeffrey-clark-jan-6-panel-seeks-make-trumps-man-doj-famous

WASHINGTON — Most Americans don’t know Jeffrey Clark — the environmental lawyer whom former President Donald Trump wanted to take over the Justice Department to aid his effort to overturn the 2020 election.

But the House Jan. 6 committee hopes its Thursday hearing might change that.

Clark took a pretty standard path for a conservative lawyer: Harvard University, Georgetown Law, clerk for Ronald Reagan-appointed federal appeals Judge Danny Julian Boggs and a partnership at the law firm Kirkland & Ellis, with a stint in the Justice Department’s environmental division during George W. Bush’s administration. His unusually long Justice Department biography even included, for some reason, details about his elementary school.

After the 2020 election, according to his fellow Republican-appointed colleagues at the Justice Department, Clark began to elicit concerns.

“What’s going on with Jeff Clark?” Trump-appointed acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen recalled in an interview with the Senate Judiciary Committee. He added that Clark brought up “internet theories” about voting machines’ being hacked via smart thermostats. “This is inconsistent with how I perceived him in the past.”

Rosen started realizing something was “off-kilter,” that “something odd was going on with Jeff Clark,” when it was learned that he had, in violation of a Justice Department rule banning contact between Justice Department officials and the White House except through proper channels, met with Trump.

“It’s even more evident in hindsight, but at the time, I did think, ‘He’s meeting with the president and now he wants to be briefed by the DNI on thermostats?’ plus the title change. Just what is going on here with Jeff Clark?” Rosen recalled. “DNI” refers to the director of national intelligence.

Thursday’s Jan. 6 committee hearing will feature testimony from Rosen, former acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue and Steven Engel, the former assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel; all were appointed by Trump. All three are expected to testify about Trump’s efforts to make Clark the acting attorney general and their threats to quit if he did.

At the time, William Barr had resigned as attorney general after he was unable to convince Trump the election hadn’t been stolen. He was replaced by Rosen. But Trump remained displeased that the Justice Department wasn’t aiding his efforts to overturn the election and, according to previous testimony, wanted to replace Rosen with Clark.

“We’re really going to look into how in the waning weeks of his administration President Trump tried to pressure the Department of Justice into helping overturn the 2020 election,” a committee aide said ahead of the hearing.

“We’ve taken a look at the pressure campaign and the pressure campaign against the vice president. Now we’re turning to the DOJ. We’ll look specifically at how the president was trying to misuse the department to advance his own agenda to stay in power at the end of his term,” the aide said. “And we’ll look at how that really is different from historical precedent and how the president was using the DOJ for his own personal means.”

Previous testimony indicates Clark was a true believer who was convinced the election had been stolen. To his colleagues at the Justice Department, according to the testimony, he was the butt of the joke, a guy who — in spite of his education — lacked the ability to discern fact from fiction on the World Wide Web.

Donoghue, during a particularly intense showdown in the Oval Office with Trump that Rosen, Engel and Clark attended, insulted Clark’s credentials, according to testimony Donoghue gave. 

“I made the point that Jeff Clark is not even competent to serve as the Attorney General. He’s never been a criminal attorney. He’s never conducted a criminal investigation in his life. He’s never been in front of a grand jury, much less a trial jury,” Donoghue told the committee last year. “You’re an environmental lawyer. How about you go back to your office, and we’ll call you when there’s an oil spill.”

Engel, Donoghue said in his Senate Judiciary interview, told Trump that everyone at the Justice Department would quit if he elevated Clark and that “Jeff Clark will be leading a graveyard.”

Clark, who was subpoenaed by the Jan. 6 committee in October, refused to answer questions during a deposition. The committee recommended contempt charges but then backed off when it set up another interview with Clark. Clark was reported to have invoked the Fifth Amendment more than 100 times when he testified again in February, according to CNN.

Clark has continued to be a presence in MAGA world. He has an account with a few hundred followers on Truth Social, Trump’s social media platform, where his Trump-mimicking handle is @RealJeffClark.

He has said the Jan. 6 committee is “power drunk and unconstitutional,” and he has shared stories from the conspiracy website Gateway Pundit, including a story about the debunked propaganda movie “2000 Mules.” He has written for the conspiracy website Revolver News about what he described as efforts to “Kill All the Trump Lawyers — By Canceling Them.” He’s making appearances on Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast. And he’s trying to raise money, telling would-be donors that he has “been targeted for cancellation by the hyper-partisan January 6 Committee, the ‘mainstream’ media, and a collection of leftist law professors and supposed ‘Republicans’ who are conveniently never-Trumpers.”

[Excerpt:]

A reconstruction of the events by The Washington Post, based on the court filings, depositions, Senate and House reports, previously undisclosed emails, and interviews with knowledgeable government officials, shows how close the country came to crisis three days before the insurrection.

The evidence, which fills in crucial details about Clark’s efforts, includes an email showing he was sent a draft of a letter outlining a plan to try to overturn the election by a just-arrived Justice Department official who had once written a book claiming President Barack Obama planned to “subvert the Constitution.”

But larger mysteries could still be solved at an upcoming Jan. 6 committee hearing slated to examine Clark’s actions, including the crucial question of whether Clark and his allies were acting on their own initiative — or whether they were one piece of a larger, well-planned effort to keep Trump in power. That question gets to the heart of the committee’s professed mission: proving there was a “coordinated, multi-step effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election.”

 

New details show extent of GOP effort to unwind Trump’s loss

Documents and texts stemming from the House investigation into Jan. 6, 2021, offer new details about the extent House Republicans, particularly members of the Freedom Caucus, were involved in plans to unwind the 2020 election — even as lawyers at the White House warned them their proposals could be illegal.

The content — released in the committee’s court battle against Mark Meadows and in a trove of texts to the former chief of staff obtained by CNN — outlines a lengthy list of Republicans involved in conversations with the White House about planning for the rallies on Jan. 6 and efforts to oppose the certification of votes that day.

Taken together, the messages show how early the White House reached out to lawmakers in its effort to keep former President Trump in office.

They also show a consistent effort by various members to strategize over how to keep Trump in office after his election loss.

That effort ranged from selecting alternate slates of electors from swing states ahead of the Electoral College vote to directing the crowd to the Capitol after the Jan. 6 rallies to discussing the possibility that Trump declare martial law days before he was set to leave office. 

Testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, a former special assistant to the president and Meadows, relays that Meadows, a former Freedom Caucus chairman, was the one to make “outreach” to members of the conservative caucus, including then-Rep-elects. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) and Reps. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).

Hutchinson identified those four as being involved in the earliest stages of efforts to unwind the election.

Texts to Meadows as early as three days after Election Day 2020 show lawmakers rallying around the idea of alternate electors.

“I’m sure you have heard of this proposal,” Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) texted to Meadows on Nov. 6. “Is anybody on the team researching and considering lobbying for that?”

As early as the first or second week of December, the White House’s own counsel was pushing back against the idea.

“Hey, this isn’t legally sound, we have fleshed this out internally, it’s fine that you think this but we’re not going to entertain this in an official White House capacity on behalf of the President, we’re putting a stop to this,” Hutchinson characterized the White House Counsel’s Office as saying.

That message was relayed to at least Perry, Jordan, and Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), according to Hutchinson.

By Dec. 21, a larger group was meeting at the White House with Trump campaign attorney Rudy Giuliani, where the focus had shifted to the ways former Vice President Mike Pence could buck his ceremonial duty to certify the election results.

That group attending that meeting included Jordan, Brooks, Biggs, Gaetz, Greene, Gohmert, Perry, and Reps. Jody Hice (R-Ga.), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.), Hutchinson said.

“They felt that he had the authority to — pardon me if my phrasing isn’t correct on this, but — send votes back to the States or the electors back to the States, more along the lines of the Eastman theory,” Hutchinson said, referring to John Eastman, who crafted two memos for the Trump campaign outlining how to challenge the election.

“I don’t recall anybody speaking out and definitively expressing disagreement with that theory,” she said of the lawmakers, adding that “the vice president’s team appeared slightly skeptical.” 

Later that day, Brooks suggested to Meadows they try to frame the meeting as being both positive and productive after being contacted by reporters.

“Media is contacting my office about this afternoon’s White House meeting regarding formulation of our January 6 strategies,” Brooks wrote to Meadows. “Does the White House want me to reply or be mum? Also, it is one thing to discuss (in general terms) our meeting beforehand. It is another to discuss afterwards.

“If you believe discussion is a positive, I suggest message should be: 1. Progress is being made. 2. More are joining our fight. 3. We can’t allow voter fraud & election theft occur if we are going to be a republic. Your choice. Let me know,” he concluded.

About a week after the meeting, Greene complained to Meadows they didn’t get enough time to chat with Giuliani about the strategy.

“We have to get organized for the 6th. I would like to meet with Rudy Giuliani again. We didn’t get to speak with him long. Also anyone who can help. We are getting a lot of members on board. And we need to lay out the best case for each state,” she texted Meadows on New Year’s Eve.

While lawmakers were coordinating with the legal team through the White House, Perry was involved with Trump’s pressure campaign at the Department of Justice (DOJ), texting Meadows on both Dec. 26 and Dec. 28 to encourage him to make contact with Jeffrey Clark. Trump would later weigh installing Clark, a mid-level DOJ official who primarily worked on environmental issues, as acting attorney general in order to forward investigations into his baseless election fraud claims.

But new testimony released by the committee shows DOJ staff pushed back as Clark tried to get a memo directly to Pence to encourage him to not certify the election results on Jan. 6.

“Mr. Clark suggested that OLC provide a legal opinion to the Vice President with respect to his authority when it comes to opening the votes as the President of the Senate on Jan. 6,” Steven Engel, who served as assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel at DOJ under Trump, told the committee.

“And I shot down that idea, but I said — I said: That’s an absurd idea. The — you know, the Vice President is acting as the President of the Senate. It is not the role of the Department of Justice to provide legislative officials with legal advice on the scope of their duties. And — you know, and — not to mention it was 3 days from the date. OLC doesn’t tend to provide the legal opinions, you know, in those cases, you know, in that short timeframe,” he added.

As Jan. 6 neared, lawmakers were once again coordinating with the White House about preparations for the day, including a discussion over whether to actively encourage rallygoers to march to the Capitol.

“I remember Mr. Perry had said that he had been starting to put tweets that night, Congressman Perry, that he was going to start putting out tweets that night, and he was a primary participant in the call,” Hutchinson said.

“I don’t think there’s a participant on the call that had necessarily discouraged the idea,” she added. “I don’t recall every single participant on the call that night, but I do recall it was a Freedom Caucus call.”

Gaetz would also go on to advertise on Jan. 5 during an appearance on Fox News that there could be “tens of thousands of people potentially marching in the streets in Washington, D.C., tomorrow.”

The same two troves show many GOP lawmakers would text Meadows as the chaos was unfolding at the Capitol, with some pleading for the chief of staff to get Trump to take action.

And other prior reporting shows that some Republicans who were initially involved eventually backed away from White House efforts amid their own doubts.

Still, another text from Greene just days before President Biden’s inauguration shows Greene — and evidently other members — were hopeful Trump might still try to resist any effort to swear in a new president and provide lawmakers tools to go after the new president.

 “In our private chat with only Members, several are saying the only way to save our Republic is for Trump to call for Marshall law. I don’t know on those things. I just wanted you to tell him,” she texted Meadows on Jan. 17.

“They stole this election. We all know. They will destroy our country next. Please tell him to declassify as much as possible so we can go after Biden and anyone else!” she added.

[Boldface added]

These Two Lawyers Breathed Life Into Trump’s Big Lie, but Did They Even Believe It?

Ty Cobb, a former Trump White House attorney, said it was “very unfortunate” that Trump’s advisers “fed him nonsense about the election results” because it likely led to Jan. 6.

Jose Pagliery, Political Investigations Reporter

Asawin Suebsaeng, Senior Political Reporter

Published Mar. 10, 2022 

https://www.thedailybeast.com/how-lawyers-john-eastman-and-jeffrey-clark-breathed-life-into-trumps-big-lie

[Excerpts:]

Trump’s despotic strategy relied on two main parts: interrupting congressional certification of the electoral ballot count and spreading lies about Joe Biden’s victorious election results, according to the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection. Both were legal quagmires that flouted the U.S. Constitution—and Trump had a lawyer for each one.

Meanwhile, at the Department of Justice, Clark was intent on leveraging his efforts on Trump’s behalf into a promotion. Internal emails show Clark was eager for the department to approve his draft letter to Georgia state officials claiming the Justice Department was “investigating various irregularities” and asking the governor and legislature there to “convene in special session” and hear testimony about made up election fraud claims.

Writing to his bosses, acting Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen and acting deputy AG Richard Donoghue, Clark openly debated whether he could sign the inappropriate letter with his new, higher title. Clark childishly toyed with the idea of using that as an opportunity to give his old deputy a nudge too.

“I continue to think there is no downside with as few as 23 days left in the president’s term to give Jon and I that added boost in DOJ titles,” Clark wrote.

That deputy, Jon Brightbill, is now in private practice at Winston & Strawn. His law firm profile says he was the acting assistant attorney general for the DOJ’s Environment & Natural Resources Division, where he “led ENRD’s 425 lawyers, overseeing 6,500 active matters and managing an annual budget of more than $150 million.” He was in that position for a month.

As for Clark himself, his attempts to use the menacing draft letter to ingratiate himself with Trump—and elevate himself to the nation’s attorney general—backfired when his direct bosses at the DOJ all threatened to quit in unison. Last week, the Jan. 6 committee publicly revealed snippets of Donoghue’s sworn deposition in which he recalled the way he and others tore Clark to shreds at a tense Oval Office meeting during Trump’s final days in office.

When Clark argued that his experience on environmental cases made him qualified to be top lawyer in the country, Donoghue remembers responding, “That’s right. You’re an environmental lawyer. How about you go back to your office, and we’ll call you when there’s an oil spill.”

Eastman and Clark are now facing potential disbarment in California and the District of Columbia, respectively. If they do, they’ll follow in the footsteps of Giuliani, who was disbarred in New York and the nation’s capital last year.

Whether or not Eastman and Clark knew they were pitching Trump absolute hogwash (and then pitched it anyway) is almost beside the point. They were merely two men in a vast array of many who were eager to promote the same drivel, in order to remain in Trump’s good graces.

 

[Excerpts:]

Former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark made good on his promise and pleaded the Fifth Amendment more than 100 times during his deposition with the House January 6 committee on Wednesday, a source familiar with the interview told CNN.

The source said Clark chose to plead the Fifth to “most” of the questions the committee asked. The former DOJ official was in the interview room with investigators for an hour and 40 minutes. Typical interviews with key witnesses have gone on for six to eight hours.

Clark is still facing a criminal contempt of Congress referral after he refused to answer the committee’s questions during a prior deposition. On the day the committee voted on the contempt referral, Clark’s lawyer informed the committee that he planned to invoke his Fifth Amendment right to not answer questions on the grounds that it may incriminate him.

The committee chose to hold the referral and not have it voted on by the entire House to give Clark another opportunity to be deposed. His deposition was delayed until this week because he was dealing with a medical condition.

Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California, who’s a member of the committee, told CNN’s Erin Burnett on “OutFront” Thursday that Clark’s deposition was “very disappointing” and as a result, “one of the options the committee needs to look at is whether we provide use immunity to Mr. Clark.”

Clark is considered an important player in the plot by former President Donald Trump to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. He was pushing Justice Department leaders to use the agency to investigate false claims of voter fraud – a push the DOJ leadership resisted.

On Wednesday, Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the panel’s chairman, said he held out hope Clark would cooperate.

https://www.cnn.com/2022/02/03/politics/jeffrey-clark-justice-department-plead-fifth-january-6/index.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jan. 6 Committee Votes to Hold Ex-Assistant A.G. in Contempt of Congress

Jose Pagliery, Political Investigations Reporter

[Excerpt:]

The fall guys are starting to add up.

On Wednesday evening, the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection found a second person “in contempt of Congress” for refusing to answer questions: a former top Justice Department official.

This time it’s Jeffrey Clark, who served as an assistant attorney general until former President Donald Trump’s final week in office. Clark tried to use the nation’s top law enforcement body to investigate Trump’s ridiculous claims about widespread fraud in the 2020 election.

The select committee voted to find Clark “in contempt of Congress” for refusing to answer questions during his deposition on Nov. 5, when he bailed early on the all-day event after only 90 minutes. Others questioned by the committee have answered questions for hours on end, helping the panel examine who organized and inspired the violent assault on the Capitol.

Jan. 6 panel plans vote to censure Trump DOJ official Clark

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol will vote Wednesday night on whether to censure Jeffrey Clark, a move that would tee up a full House vote on whether to refer the former Justice Department official for prosecution by the very agency where he used to work.

Clark was a mid-level attorney at the Justice Department during the Trump administration, but he became a central figure in a pressure campaign by former President Trump to involve the agency in investigating his baseless claims of voter fraud.

The Jan. 6 committee sought to speak to Clark about that effort, including his suggestion that the Justice Department send letters to several states encouraging them to delay certification of their election results.

The vote comes after Clark only briefly appeared for a deposition with the committee earlier this month.

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the select committee’s chairman, said that although Clark and his attorney “raised some objections” at a morning meeting, they were supposed to reappear before the committee later that day but never showed. 

Clark’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Wednesday’s vote comes as the Justice Department has shown it will take such referrals seriously.

After the House voted in October to censure one-time White House strategist Steve Bannon after he flouted a subpoena, DOJ filed two counts of contempt of Congress, a crime that carries penalties as high as two years in jail and $200,000 in fines between the two charges. 

Clark was also a key figure in a Senate Judiciary Committee investigation into Trump’s efforts at DOJ during his waning days in office, with the attorney forwarding letters then-White House counsel Pat Cipollone described as a “murder-suicide pact.”

“You proposed that the department send a letter to state legislators in Georgia and other states suggesting that they delay certification of their election results and hold a press conference announcing that the department was investigating allegations of voter fraud,” the House panel wrote in its subpoena to Clark.

Trump even weighed installing Clark as acting attorney general after other DOJ officials resisted White House efforts on the election front.

Clark’s attorney has previously sought to claim that the former DOJ lawyer, who for most of his career with the agency worked on environmental issues, should not have to respond to the committee due to executive privilege concerns.

Committee attorneys have already pushed back on the idea that Trump has the power as a former president to block the committee from accessing his records. The courts will continue to weigh the issue in a case that holds its next hearing on Tuesday. 

But even if Trump did have the power to make such executive privilege claims, he has not sought to assert them for Clark, with Trump’s attorney penning a letter to several former DOJ attorney’s alerting them he would not seek to interfere with their desire to talk to the committee. 

Two figures who threatened to resign after Clark informed them Trump was planning to install him as attorney general have already reportedly sat down with committee investigators — former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and his deputy Richard Donoghue.

The Wednesday vote on Clark has been scheduled as the Jan. 6 committee has failed to decide how to respond to similar behavior from former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

Meadows was said to be “engaging” with the committee for over a month following his September subpoena. But the committee’s patience ended with a demand for a Nov. 12 deposition for which the Trump ally failed to show.

Meadows has gone to the airwaves to complain the subpoena has put him “between a rock and a hard space” as Trump specifically directed him, Bannon, and others not to comply.

“These are complex legal matters that I’m going to let the attorneys hopefully work out in a spirit of accommodation,” Meadows told Fox News earlier this month.

 

Trump DOJ official who aided effort to overturn election declines to answer Jan. 6 questions

The chair of the Hill select panel probing the Capitol riot said a contempt of Congress referral for Jeffrey Clark is “on the table.”

https://www.politico.com/news/2021/11/05/jeffrey-clark-doj-hill-deposition-519703

 

Heather Cox Richardson from Letters from an American <heathercoxrichardson@substack.com>

November 6, 2021

Also on the Hill today, Jeffrey Clark, the Department of Justice attorney who championed then-president Trump’s efforts to get the 2020 election overturned, cut short his deposition before the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol.

After about 90 minutes, Clark handed the committee a 12-page letter saying he would not answer questions because while he held office, former president Trump was entitled “to the confidential advice of lawyers like” him. That meant that Clark “is subject to a sacred trust—one that is particularly vital to the constitutional separation of powers.” This vague and odd declaration is seemingly intended simply to buy time. Clark clearly doesn’t want to talk, but he also doesn’t appear to want to plead the Fifth Amendment, which would cement the idea that he has committed crimes. Trump has not asserted executive privilege over his conversations with Clark and indeed couldn’t, for a number of reasons.

Committee chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS) said that Clark “has a very short time to reconsider and cooperate fully.”

 

Jan. 6 panel subpoenas Jeffrey Clark, backer of Trump efforts at DOJ

BY REBECCA BEITSCH – 10/13/21 

https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/576645-jan-6-panel-subpoenas-jeffrey-clark-backer-of-trump-election-fraud

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol has subpoenaed Jeffrey Clark, a Trump ally and former Justice Department employee who urged its leaders to investigate former President Trump’s election fraud claims.

“The Select Committee’s investigation has revealed credible evidence that you attempted to involve the Department of Justice in efforts to interrupt the peaceful transfer of power,” the committee wrote in its letter.

“You proposed that the department send a letter to state legislators in Georgia and other states suggesting that they delay certification of their election results and hold a press conference announcing that the department was investigating allegations of voter fraud.”

Clark, the former acting Civil Division assistant attorney general, was at the center of a report from the Senate Judiciary Committee last week detailing Trump’s pressure campaign on the highest ranking officials at the Department of Justice (DOJ). 

An otherwise little-known figure in the Justice Department, Clark was introduced to Trump by Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), another person the Senate Committee recommended the House focus on.

Clark then became an advocate for Trump inside DOJ, forwarding letters then-White House counsel Pat Cipollone called a “murder-suicide pact.”

“These proposals were rejected by department leadership as both lacking in factual basis and inconsistent with the department’s institutional role,” the subpoena states.

Read More

Things came to a head when Clark informed his superiors at the DOJ that Trump was prepared to install him as acting attorney general following frustration with then-DOJ head Jeffrey Rosen and others resisting Justice Department involvement in Trump’s election battles.

The Jan. 3 exchange ended as numerous DOJ officials, including Rosen, threatened to resign, with Trump ultimately deciding against potential blowback from the shake-up. 

“While he did not ultimately make that personnel change,” the committee wrote of Trump, “your efforts risked involving the Department of Justice in actions that lacked evidentiary foundation and threatened to subvert the rule of law.”

The letter from the Jan. 6 panel also focuses on Clark’s engagement with the White House.

“You engaged in unauthorized investigation of allegations of voter fraud and failed to abide by the department’s policy on contacts with the White House,” they wrote. 

The subpoena comes as the Senate report suggested the House panel take charge to investigate Trump’s focus on DOJ, the rallies and other activity on Jan. 6.

“President Trump’s efforts to enlist DOJ and its leadership in his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election were aided by numerous allies with clear ties to the ‘Stop the Steal’ movement and the January 6 insurrection,” the Senate report stated.

Trump told DOJ officials “he and his congressional allies could effectively position themselves to overturn the presidential election results with cover from DOJ, asking DOJ to ‘just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the [Republican] Congressmen,’ ” according to the report.

The committee also sat down for an interview with Rosen on Wednesday, according to Politico, and previously interviewed then-acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue, another participant in the Jan. 3 meeting.

Clark has proven an elusive figure for congressional investigators. He refused to sit down with the Senate Judiciary Committee for its report. The subpoena from the Jan. 6 committee comes as conversations between the panel and Clark’s legal team failed to progress as quickly as lawmakers hoped, according to reporting from The Washington Post.

“The Select Committee needs to understand all the details about efforts inside the previous administration to delay the certification of the 2020 election and amplify misinformation about the election results. We need to understand Mr. Clark’s role in these efforts at the Justice Department and learn who was involved across the administration. The Select Committee expects Mr. Clark to cooperate fully with our investigation,” Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said in a statement.

The hardline on Clark falls as the committee gears up for a battle with former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, who has thus far refused to cooperate with the committee and is unlikely to appear for a requested deposition on Thursday.

Updated 5:25 p.m.

 

Report details Trump’s all-out bid to undo election results

By MARY CLARE JALONICK, ERIC TUCKER and COLLEEN LONG

October 7, 2021

https://apnews.com/article/donald-trump-election-2020-judiciary-presidential-elections-elections-2fec942d0c09bc31858190afbb5d8e42?utm_source=&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=43106

[Excerpts:]

 “In attempting to enlist DOJ for personal, political purposes in an effort to maintain his hold on the White House, Trump grossly abused the power of the presidency” and arguably violated a federal law that prevents anyone from commanding federal employees to engage in political activity, the report says.

While the broad outlines of what took place after the Nov. 3 election have long been known, the Senate investigation based on a review of documents and interviews with former officials lays bare the extent of Trump’s all-out campaign to remain in the White House. It shows how Trump benefited from the support of a little-known Justice Department lawyer who championed the then-president’s efforts to challenge the vote but how, in the end, other senior officials stood together to face down Trump. The outcome suggests how reliant the fragile U.S. election system is on the integrity of government officials. 

Trump’s effort, now the subject of a Justice Department inspector general investigation, did not succeed and Biden took office on Jan. 20. Even so, the false claims over the election have fractured the nation, with millions of Americans wrongly believing the contest was stolen. 

Read More

Rage about the election compelled a mass of Trump supporters to violently storm the Capitol on Jan. 6 in an effort to disrupt the congressional certification of Biden’s victory. The rioters beat and bloodied an overwhelmed police force, sent lawmakers running for their lives and caused $1 million in damage. More than 630 people have been charged criminally in the riot, the largest prosecution in Justice Department history.

Republicans, who have mostly stayed loyal to Trump since the insurrection, issued their own report that downplays the concerns raised by Democrats and paints Trump as a hero who ignored the suggestions from the lawyer, Jeffrey Clark, and who refused to fire top Justice Department officials. 

Their rebuttal makes the astonishing claim that Trump was concerned about the election system writ large and not about himself, even though he was publicly fighting to stay in office and pressured Vice President Mike Pence to help him.

The Democrats’ report chronicles Trump’s relentless prodding of the Justice Department during a turbulent stretch in December and early January to investigate suspected voter fraud and to support his efforts to undo the results. Trump had laid the groundwork for that effort even before the election when he attacked the vote-by-mail process. 

But he escalated it significantly after Election Day and particularly after the December resignation of Attorney General William Barr, who weeks before he left the Justice Department told The Associated Press that the department had not found fraud that could affect the outcome of the election. 

In one White House meeting recounted for Senate investigators, Jeffrey Rosen, who served as Barr’s deputy and briefly led the department after Barr left, described how Trump, in an effort to initiate a department inquiry, showed videos of “somebody delivering a suitcase of ballots.”

Rosen said he recalled saying to Trump, “I really want to suggest to you, sir, respectfully, that it would be a better thing for everyone to use this last month to focus on some of the things that had been accomplished in the last four years, a — tax reform and the vaccine, Operation Warp Speed, and not go into this ‘the election was corrupt.’”

The pressure campaign by Trump and his allies included a draft brief the White House wanted the Justice Department to file with the Supreme Court to overturn the election results. The department refused to file the document, which the Senate report describes as raising a “litany of false and debunked claims.”

The conflict culminated in a contentious, hourslong meeting at the White House on Jan. 3 in which Trump openly considered replacing Rosen as acting attorney general with Clark, an assistant attorney general. The Democrats’ report says Trump told Rosen: “One thing we know is you, Rosen, aren’t going to do anything to overturn the election.” 

Clark had positioned himself as more sympathetic to pursuing Trump’s fraud claims even though the results were certified by states and Republican election officials. Courts rejected dozens of legal challenges to the election and Barr, Trump’s own attorney general, had said Biden won fairly. 

Clark declined to be interviewed voluntarily by the committee. His lawyer declined to comment Thursday. The committee said it was submitting a complaint to the District of Columbia Bar to assess whether discipline is warranted. 

Several officials in the Jan. 3 meeting told Trump they would resign if he put Clark in charge at the Justice Department. According to witnesses interviewed by the Senate committee’s majority staff, White House counsel Pat Cipollone referred to a draft letter from Clark pushing Georgia officials to convene a special legislative session on the election results as a “murder-suicide pact.” Cipollone threatened to quit.

Richard Donoghue, Rosen’s deputy at the time, told Clark there was “no chance” he would sign that letter or “anything remotely like this.” Donoghue told the committee that he told Trump that all the assistant attorneys general, and perhaps U.S. attorneys and other senior department officials, would resign if the president replaced Rosen with Clark. 

Georgia emerged as a particular area of focus for Trump, who sought the removal of the top prosecutor in Atlanta, Byung Jin (“BJay”) Pak, claiming he was a “never Trumper,” the report said. Pak had originally planned to stay on in the position until Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, but resigned weeks earlier than that because of the pressure from Trump.

Besides Clark, Trump found another ally in Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., who has disputed the validity of Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania and called Donoghue last December to say the department wasn’t doing its job with respect to the elections. Perry encouraged Donoghue to elicit Clark’s help because he’s “the kind of guy who could really get in there and do something about this,” the report said.

Associated Press writers Michael Balsamo and Farnoush Amiri contributed to this report.

 

Group asks DC court panel to investigate DOJ official who peddled false Trump election claims

BY JOHN KRUZEL  10/05/21 

[Excerpts:]

A group of legal heavyweights on Tuesday asked the disciplinary panel of the D.C. Court of Appeals to investigate a former Department of Justice (DOJ) official who allegedly sought to use his official position in the federal government to overturn former President Trump’s election defeat.

In a 15-page ethics complaint, the group said former DOJ official Jeffrey Clark should face disciplinary action over his alleged attempt in late December to subvert the 2020 election result in part by proposing that he and two other top DOJ officials send letters to state leaders, including those in Georgia, making the unfounded claim that the department “identified concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election in multiple states.”

Read More

A central allegation in the complaint is that Clark’s plan amounted to an attempt to interfere with the “administration of justice” by seeking to derail Congress’s Jan. 6 certification of Biden’s win. Such tampering is prohibited by the District’s ethics rules for lawyers.

Their allegations against Clark drew heavily on public reporting to illustrate his alleged role in a plot to undermine election results in Georgia and several other battleground states Trump lost.

The ethics complaint filed Tuesday does not request a specific sanction be taken against Clark. Rather, it asks that the disciplinary counsel for the D.C. Court of Appeals initiates disciplinary proceedings and publicly acknowledges an ongoing probe if one is opened.

The group also alleges that Clark ran afoul of the District’s lawyers ethics rules that forbid dishonesty and deceit.

“To put it simply, the charge is that Clark wanted to send false statements to state officials with the goal of getting Trump declared the winner on Jan. 6,” said Stephen Gillers, a law professor at New York University and expert on legal ethics. “He drafted the false statements and attempted, though without success, to get his bosses to go along. 

 

The Legal Minds Who Tried to Overturn the Election for Trump Are Being Welcomed Back Into Polite Society

BY RICHARD L. HASEN

SEPT 01, 2021

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2021/09/trump-john-eastman-2020-election-law.html


Though it hasn’t received the attention it deserves, courage from Republican election officials and leaders helped save this country from a total election meltdown in 2020 based on lies about voter fraud from the incumbent president, Donald Trump. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger refused to “find” more than 11,000 presidential votes in Georgia, as Trump personally requested, declining to give Georgia’s legislature an excuse to falsely declare Trump won the state. Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen rejected entreaties to have the Department of Justice claim fraud in states Biden won. He did so despite pressure from Trump and Jeffrey Clark, a DOJ official who vied for Rosen’s job and was ready to do Trump’s bidding potentially in violation of federal law. And Federalist Society judges such as Stephanos Bibas excoriatedbogus Trump attempts to overturn the election in court without evidence or solid legal theories.

But memories fade fast. On the right, within the Federalist Society, and even among others who apparently value civility over preserving democracy, some are quietly welcoming back into the fold those who would have stolen the election for Trump or who fomented the violent Jan. 6 insurrection. Most appear to be doing so not because they supported the insurrection or Trump’s ridiculous claims but out of willful ignorance of the facts or in the name of civility or free speech. It’s a mistake, and it’s taking us down a dangerous path.

Almost a month ago, Mark Joseph Stern wrote about how Jeffrey Clark had landed a cushy job as Chief of Litigation and Director of Strategy at the New Civil Liberties Alliance, a conservative-libertarian law firm that battles “the administrative state.” Among those on the Board of Advisors of NCLA are former D.C. Circuit Judge Janice Rogers Brown and noted libertarian law professors Randy Barnett and Eugene Volokh. Despite entreaties, nobody involved in the organization has spoken out about Clark’s appointment.

 

Legal experts welcome sanctions of pro-Trump lawyers, say more needed

BY JOHN KRUZEL – 08/28/21

https://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/569840-legal-experts-welcome-sanctions-of-pro-trump-lawyers-say-more-needed

[Excerpts:]

Attorneys behind some of the dubious litigation over former President Trump’s 2020 election loss were sanctioned this week by a federal judge in a move that was welcomed by legal ethics experts.

More disciplinary steps are needed to deter efforts to undermine future U.S. elections, said experts who spoke to The Hill, adding that the system for holding pro-Trump election lawyers to account was working as it should.

“The wheels of ethical accountability grind slowly but deliberately,” said Bradley Moss, a national security lawyer. “Within the span of 10 months, we have seen both state bars and the courts take action against those lawyers who took their propagation of Trump’s conspiratorial fantasies out of the cable news studio and into the courtroom.”

Not every Trump-allied attorney who is alleged to have tried to overturn the 2020 election has faced repercussions. One lawyer whose behind-the-scenes role is still coming into full view is that of Jeffrey Bossert Clark, who served as an assistant attorney general at the Justice Department during the Trump administration.

Clark reportedly plotted with Trump to overturn the election results in key states. Recently revealed emails show that Clark in late December tried to get top Justice Department officials to sign off on a plan to assist Republican-held state legislatures with nullifying Biden’s win in favor of Trump.

Multiple attempts to reach Clark through his employer by phone and email were not successful.

Rather than face discipline, Clark has since landed a position with a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C., called the New Civil Liberties Alliance. 

 

Opinion: 

The most dangerous Trump official you’ve never heard of needs to be heard from

“People tell me Jeff Clark is great, I should put him in. People want me to replace DOJ leadership,” President Donald Trump told acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen on a Dec. 27, 2020, phone call — suggesting, with typical Trumpian subtlety, that Rosen might soon find himself out of a job if he didn’t comply with Trump’s demands to “tell people that this was an illegal, corrupt election.”  

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/08/13/most-dangerous-trump-official-youve-never-heard-needs-be-heard/

Opinion by  Ruth Marcus Deputy editorial page editor

August 14, 2021

 [Excerpts:]

 “People tell me Jeff Clark is great, I should put him in. People want me to replace DOJ leadership,” President Donald Trump told acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen on a Dec. 27, 2020, phone call — suggesting, with typical Trumpian subtlety, that Rosen might soon find himself out of a job if he didn’t comply with Trump’s demands to “tell people that this was an illegal, corrupt election.”

The handwritten notes of the call, taken by the Justice Department’s acting No. 2 official, Richard P. Donoghue, and released recently by the House Oversight Committee, underscore the imperative of obtaining testimony from Clark about his efforts, in league with Trump, to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.

All of which leads to the fundamental point: To understand how close the country came to having the election results overturned, to know whether this activity was merely bone-chilling or rises to the level of a criminal offense, it is important to secure Clark’s testimony — and it’s not entirely clear that’s going to happen. The Justice Department inspector general is looking into the goings-on at the department but may not be able to compel Clark’s testimony, and the same is true of the Senate Judiciary Committee, before which Rosen and Donoghue testified voluntarily. The House Oversight Committee, which has the documents, has ceded authority to the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection, which has other matters piled on its plate.

The questions include: How did Clark connect with Perry, the congressman? Any other members of Congress? What conversations or meetings did Clark have with White House officials? When did he speak with the president, and what was said? Did the president give him any instructions about whether to tell Rosen about the conversations? (The Justice Department has waived any claims of executive privilege, so Clark cannot refuse to answer on these grounds.) What communications did he have on his private email, on his personal phone or through secure messaging systems? (These should be subpoenaed.) With whom did he discuss the allegations of election fraud — what Trump campaign lawyers or other representatives? How did he come to draft the letter to Georgia officials? Was this done on his government computer?

I could go on, but you get the point. Someone with subpoena power needs to get Jeffrey Clark under oath. The sooner the better.

 

Pure insanity’: How Trump and his allies pressured the Justice Department
to help overturn the election

New documents and emails reveal how far the president and his
supporters were willing to go to try to keep Donald Trump in office in
a frenzied three-week stretch that tested Justice Department leaders.

Matt Zapotosky,  Rosalind S. Helderman, Amy Gardner and Karoun Demirjian

June 16, 2021

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/interactive/2021/trump-justice-department-2020-election/

[Excerpts below relating to Clark]

Around the same time that Rosen was fending off requests for a Supreme Court challenge, he and other top deputies encountered an even more pernicious threat. Through a Pennsylvania lawmaker, Trump had connected with a top Justice Department official: Jeffrey Bossert Clark, who was then running both the Environment and Natural Resources Division and Civil Division. And Clark, unlike others in the department, was more sympathetic to Trump’s claims of fraud.

According to people familiar with the matter, Clark became particularly focused on Georgia, trying to persuade department leaders to issue a letter that argued that state’s elections were affected by fraud, and that — as a consequence — its lawmakers should disregard the results and appoint their own electors.

Unbeknown to all but a few people at the Justice Department, Trump was contemplating installing Clark as attorney general. On New Year’s Eve, the matter threatened to reach a boiling point. Rosen and Donoghue, his deputy, went to the White House for a meeting to see if they could buy more time, people familiar with the matter have said.

They bought a temporary reprieve. But the pressure kept coming.

That same day, Clark approached Rosen and said Trump intended to install him — Clark — as attorney general. Rosen, taken aback, pushed for a meeting at the White House, according to people familiar with the episode.

According to emails and people familiar with the matter, Donoghue and one of his deputies organized a call that Sunday afternoon with other senior Justice Department officials. Those on the call agreed they would resign en masse if Trump proceeded with the plan.

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In a previous statement, Clark said: “I categorically deny that I ‘devised a plan … to oust’ Jeff Rosen. … Nor did I formulate recommendations for action based on factual inaccuracies gleaned from the Internet.”

In a high-stakes meeting later that evening, people familiar with the matter said, Rosen, Donoghue and Steven A. Engel, who headed the department’s Office of Legal Counsel, as well as White House Counsel Pat Cipollone sought to talk the president out of installing Clark and sending the letter alleging fraud in Georgia.

Doing so, they argued, would spark a mass resignation at the Justice Department. And it ultimately would not work to overturn the election results.

Trump decided to keep Rosen in place. Justice Department officials, who were earlier facing the prospect of a mass resignation, breathed a sigh of relief.

“It sounds like Rosen and the cause of justice won,” Patrick Hovakimian, Donoghue’s deputy, emailed a small group at 9:07 p.m.

[The above account reveals the importance and  power of  freedom if information laws, as the account slowly unfolded in the daily news as follows:]

Clark, Trump’s acting head of the Department of Justice civil division, secretly devised a plan with President Trump that would have ousted Acting Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen and pushed top DOJ leaders to falsely and publicly assert that ongoing election fraud investigations cast doubt on the Electoral College results. ​

 ​After top department leaders pledged to resign en masse, Mr. Trump ultimately decided against firing Mr. Rosen.​

A Justice Department watchdog has opened an investigation into whether any current or former officials tried improperly to wield the powers of the department to undo the results of the presidential election.

This is the second known investigation into the actions of top Justice Department officials during the final weeks of the Trump administration. Earlier this month, Mr. Horowitz opened an investigation into whether Trump administration officials improperly pressured Byung J. Pak, the U.S. attorney in Atlanta, who abruptly resigned after it became clear to Mr. Trump that Pak would not take actions to cast doubt on or undo the results of the election, according to a person briefed on the inquiry.

Separately, the Senate Judiciary Committee said this weekend that it has initiated its own oversight inquiry into officials including Mr. Clark. nytimes.com, Jan. 24 and 25, 2021

Two whistleblowers assert that Clark improperly injected politics into the hiring process during his waning days in the Trump administration, according to a new filing obtained by NPR.

  • The whistleblowers accuse Jeffrey Bossert Clark of conducting a “sham” process and elevating a person who volunteered to defend a controversial Trump policy on abortion access, even though the person had far less experience than other finalists for the job in the Civil Division, they said in a Wednesday letter to House and Senate lawmakers and the Justice Department’s inspector general.
  • Clark was then the acting assistant attorney general in charge of the department’s Civil Division.Clark drew nationwide attention this year afterThe New York Times reported he had discussed a way to unseat the acting attorney general, take the job for himself and advance then-President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn Georgia’s election results before the congressional certification of electoral votes in January.
  • The scandal figured in Trump’s second impeachment trial — and it renewed concerns about partisan political influence on Justice Department operations. npr.org. Mar. 10, 2021

 

“Democracy is a way of life controlled by a working faith in the possibilities of human nature.”

— John Dewey