WATCH LIVE: Trump Tried to Coax the Justice Department into Supporting His Coup, January 6th. panel shows

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump tried to coax the Justice Department into supporting his plan to overthrow democracy and stay in power, but backed down when his own appointees threatened to resign en masse, the committee said Jan. 6 in testimony Thursday.

Trump wanted to appoint a department lawyer willing to lie on his behalf in letters to half a dozen states where Trump nearly lost to Democrat Joe Biden. The letters falsely claimed that the department had found evidence of electoral fraud and urged state officials to reverse Biden’s victory.

“In fact, Donald Trump knew it was a lie,” said Liz Cheney, Republican Vice Chair of the committee.

Because Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen refused to send the fake letters, Trump wanted to fire him and replace him with Jeffrey Clark, who headed the department’s environmental division but whose drive to comply with Trump’s demands was brought to his attention by a Republican member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Scott Perry.

However, at a White House meeting with Trump, Rosen’s deputy Richard Donoghue told Trump that he and other senior officials would resign in protest if he got his way. Trump eventually backed down.

“He wanted the Justice Department to help legitimize his lies,” said committee chairman Benny Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi.

Testimony Thursday comes from Rosen, Donoghue and Steven Engel, the former head of the department’s legal counsel.

Prior to Trump’s open attempt to appoint a pro-coup official to run the department, he repeatedly pressured his chosen attorney general, Bill Barr, to investigate “fraud” that would help him delegitimize election results in several states in which he ran. almost lost.

Barr, who has vehemently defended Trump’s actions on many previous occasions, including when he falsely claimed that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation effectively cleared the president of wrongdoing, told Trump that his post-election claim was untrue, he told committee investigators.

“I said, you know, this should be a campaign that raises this issue with the state,” Barr said in videotaped testimony shown at the June 13 committee hearing. “The department does not take sides in elections, and the department is not an extension of your legal team.”

Thursday’s was the fifth in a series of public hearings a select committee held this month to detail Trump’s attempt to stay in power that led to the Jan. 6 attack he instigated on the US Capitol. The committee originally planned to complete the hearings in June, with a final report later this summer or fall. But Thompson told reporters Wednesday that because so much new information has come to the commission in recent days — from a new video interview with Trump himself to more of his White House documents from the National Archives — the committee will resume hearings in mid-July after Congress. Break July 4th.

Trump, despite losing the election by 7 million votes nationwide and 306-232 in the Electoral College, became the first president in more than two centuries of elections to refuse to hand over power peacefully. His instigation of the attack on the Capitol on January 6 – his latest attempt to remain in office – killed five, including one police officer, wounded 140 more officers, and led to the suicide of four police officers.

Nevertheless, Trump remains the dominant figure in the Republican Party and has been open about running for president again in 2024.

In statements on his personal social media platform, Trump continued to lie about the January 6 election and committee work, calling it a “hoax,” similar to previous investigations into his campaign’s 2016 acceptance of Russian aid and his attempted extortion of Ukraine. helping his 2020 campaign.

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