Former President Donald Trump told top Justice Department officials to “say the election is corrupt” as his efforts to topple the election peaked in December 2020, internal government notes reveal.
The handwritten notes, released by a congressional committee, reveal how Trump told the heads of US law enforcement to pursue his claims of fraud and that President Biden hadn’t actually won the election — even as they pushed back on his wildest claims and scrambled to win his reflections and guidelines.
“Just say the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me and the R. Congressmen,” Trump told then-Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue on a Dec. 27, 2020 phone call that also involved Acting AG Jeffrey Rosen.
“Just say the election was corrupt,” former President Donald Trump told top Justice Department officials, according to notes from a Dec. 27, 2020 conversation
He referred to Republican congressional allies in the Capitol who made his allegations of voter fraud, according to Donoghue’s notes.
“These handwritten notes show that President Trump has directly directed our nation’s highest law enforcement agency to take steps to nullify free and fair elections in the final days of his presidency,” House Oversight Committee chairman Rep. . Carolyn Maloney of New York, who is investigating Trump’s efforts.
The notes commemorate a telephone conversation between Trump, identified as ‘P’, and Rosen, identified as ‘DAY’. He had assumed authority in the final weeks of Trump’s tenure after Attorney General Bill Barr left days earlier — after saying himself there was no evidence of widespread electoral fraud.
Rosen tried to tell the president that there were restrictions that kept him from giving the president what he wanted. The notes say, “understand that the DOJ won’t + snap its fingers + change the election results, it doesn’t work that way.”
“We have a duty to tell people that this was an illegal, corrupt election,” notes Trump call with DOJ officials
‘These people who’ [are] saying the election is not corrupt is corrupt,” notes the president’s interview with top DOJ officials
The comments on the Dec. 27, 2020 “DAG Call” include Tump’s allegations of electoral fraud, reference to Ohio Representative Jim Jordan,
Acting Deputy AG Richard P. Donoghue took notes on the conversation
The call came days after Acting AG Jeffrey Rosen took charge of the agency
It came days before the ‘Stop the Steal’ rally and the Capitol riots
That led Trump to say, “Don’t expect you to” and to simply “say” the election was corrupt.
At the bottom of the nine-page notes, in quotes, is another line from Trump: “We have a duty to tell people that this was an illegal, corrupt election.”
Such a statement from the Justice Department could have fueled several state audit and recount efforts pushed by Trump and his allies amid a flurry of lawsuits and Kraken lawsuits thrown out of court.
It would also have strengthened Republican congressional allies, many of whom would eventually vote not to certify election votes from states that had certified their vote for Biden over Trump in states where Trump alleged fraud.
The notes show that Trump has echoed many of the comments he and allies made publicly and claimed fraud in Georgia, Arizona and other states where Trump continues to make his claim.
Trump also appeared to threaten a leadership shakeup in his final days in office, suggesting he could appoint the acting chief of the DOJ’s civilian division.
“People tell me Jeff Clark is great, I should put him in it. People want me to replace the DOJ leadership,” Trump said.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who bumped Speaker Nancy Pelosi to a select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attacks, is also mentioned in the appeal. Trump calls him a “fighter.”
Trump, who along with his allies made a series of claims about voting dead people and “turning around” votes as part of his bid to stay in office, encouraged officials to go online.
“You may not follow the Internet like I do,” he said.
DOJ told former administration officials last week it can speak to congressional committees investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, increasing the likelihood that the call officials will be called to testify about the conversation with Trump.
The officials also rethought their own efforts to push back Trump, at a time of chaotic maneuvering within the agency.
“Told him outright that a lot of the information he’s getting is false, +/or just not supported by the evidence – we’re looking at allegations, but they’re not coming true,” the notes read.
Another line shows Trump pushing for an investigation into the president’s son, Hunter. Trump’s recorded request to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to look for a probe of the Bidens was pivotal in the first failed impeachment attempt in Congress.
It came after revelations that Trump allies said came from Hunter Biden’s laptop.
“You think about what to do with H. Biden — people will criticize the DOJ if it’s not really investigated,” Trump said, according to the notes.