Former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen detailed Thursday during testimony before the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot the pressure campaign then-President Donald Trump conducted toward officials at the Department of Justice to overturn the results of the 2020 election in his favor.
During the short period in which he was acting attorney general after the resignation of Attorney General William Barr, Rosen said Trump reached out to him in some fashion nearly every day to discuss the election and his unfounded claims of fraud.
“The common element of all of this was the president expressing his dissatisfaction with the Justice Department, is that you have not done enough to investigate election fraud,” Rosen said.
Rosen and the other former Justice Department officials said Trump complained to them that the department was missing in action regarding his claims. They said they told him they did not have the evidentiary standing or the legal grounds to do so.
Rosen said the president pushed for the Justice Department to make a public statement casting doubt on the election, challenge the election with the Supreme Court, appoint a special counsel for election fraud, and suggested he meet with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who was working to overturn the election.
“The Justice Department declined all of those requests that I was just referencing because we did not think they were appropriate based on the facts of the law, as we understood them,” Rosen said.
Rosen said he was surprised when Trump referenced Jeffrey Clark, then the assistant attorney general for the environment and natural resources, in a Christmas Eve phone call, as Clark was an environmental lawyer who had no prior involvement in election work. Trump attempted to place Clark in charge of the Justice Department in his quest to overturn the election.
“I was quizzical as to how the president would even know Mr. Clark,” Rosen said.
Rosen said he later became aware Clark attended an unauthorized Oval Office meeting with Trump, which violated department policy about discussions with the White House.