Former President Donald Trump told Justice Department officials to ‘just say that the election was corrupt’ and to leave the rest to him, according to testimony in the fifth January 6 committee hearing.
During the public hearing on Thursday afternoon, former Assistant Attorney General Richard Donoghue said he once spent 90 minutes debunking Trump’s false claims that the presidential election was stolen from him.
Donoghue said he went through each claim, one by one, and that Trump eventually stopped trying to convince him of their legal merit.
‘Just say that the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen,’ stated Donoghue’s handwritten notes about Trump’s alleged words.
Donoghue reiterated to the House Select Committee investigating the insurrection: ‘That’s an exact quote.’
Trump’s apparent words were from a December, 27, 2020 call with Donoghue in which the then-president falsely claimed that hundreds of thousands of votes were being decertified in Pennsylvania.
Donoghue told Trump that the Justice Department did not have a ‘civil role’ to sue states over their election results.
In addition, Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen told Trump that the department was not able to ‘snap its fingers and change the results of the election’.
Trump then ‘responded very quickly’ and said ‘essentially, to the effect of, “That’s not what I’m asking you to do,”‘ according to Donoghue.
Besides Donoghue and Rosen, former Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel Steven Engel also testified in the hearing that was focused on Trump pressuring the Justice Department to overturn the election results.
Engel said there was no legal basis to appoint a special counsel to probe voter fraud in the election.
‘Neither (Attorney General) Barr nor Rosen believed (a special counsel) was appropriate or necessary in this case,’ said Engel.
The committee’s next public hearings have been postponed to July.
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