Three days before Congress was slated to certify the 2020 presidential election, a little-known Justice Department official named Jeffrey Clark rushed to meet President Donald Trump in the Oval Office to discuss a last-ditch attempt to reverse the results. Clark, an environmental lawyer by trade, had outlined a plan in a letter he wanted to send to the leaders of key states Joe Biden won. It said that the Justice Department had “identified significant concerns” about the vote and that the states should consider sending “a separate slate of electors supporting Donald J. Trump” for Congress to approve. In fact, Clark’s bosses had warned there was not evidence to overturn the election and had rejected his letter days earlier. Now they learned Clark was about to meet with Trump. Acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen tracked down his deputy, Richard Donoghue, who had been walking on the Mall in muddy jeans and an Army T-shirt. There was no time to change. They raced to the Oval Office. As Rosen and Donoghue listened, Clark told Trump that he would send the letter if the president named him attorney general. “History is calling,” Clark told the president, according to a deposition from Donoghue excerpted in a recent court filing. “This is our opportunity. We can get this done.” Donoghue urged Trump not to put Clark in charge, calling him “not competent” and warning of “mass resignations” by Justice Department officials if he became the nation’s top law enforcement official, according to Donoghue’s account.
Trump brought US ‘dangerously close to catastrophe’, January 6 panel says | Lauren Gambino and Hugo Lowell/The Guardian
The House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol presented evidence on Thursday that Donald Trump was told his last-gasp attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election was unlawful but forged ahead anyway. Trump then pressured his vice-president, Mike Pence, to reject a tally of state electors as part of a plot that brought the country “dangerously close to catastrophe”, the panel heard. With live witnesses and recorded depositions from its yearlong investigation, the panel offered a dramatic accounting of the days and hours that preceded the assault. Chilling new evidence also detailed the frantic moments after rioters stormed the Capitol, as Pence was rushed from the Senate chamber to a secure underground location. “Approximately 40 feet – that’s all there was – 40 feet between the vice-president and the mob,” said the California congressman Pete Aguilar, a Democrat who led the panel’s third hearing. “Make no mistake about the fact that the vice-president’s life was in danger.” The committee spent the majority of the hearing dissecting the “completely nonsensical and antidemocratic” theory, devised by the conservative law professor John Eastman and embraced by Trump, that suggested Pence had the authority to reverse the results of the 2020 election. The vice-president has no such power.