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Trump tried to pressure Justice Department into overturning Biden’s election win, Senate Democrats claim

Trump tried to pressure Justice Department into overturning Biden’s election win, Senate Democrats claim
Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have released a report accusing former President Donald Trump of attempting to use the Justice Department to overturn Joe Biden’s electoral win. Republicans say it’s all baloney.

Within days of President Joe Biden’s inauguration in January, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Richard Durbin (D-Illinois) launched an investigation into Trump’s alleged efforts to “weaponize” the Department of Justice to overturn Biden’s electoral victory.

In an interim report released on Thursday, Durbin’s Democrats claim that Trump “repeatedly asked DOJ leadership to endorse his false claims that the election was stolen,” and used Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to pressure the DOJ into opening fraud investigations based on the late-night “vote dumps” that saw Biden coast to victory in the key swing states that paused ballot counting on election night as Trump pulled ahead. The latter move, the report says, violates long standing policies of separation between the White House and the Justice Department.

Trump’s “allies” within the so-called ‘Stop the Steal’ movement – including lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Pennsylvania Rep. Scott Perry (R) – also pressured the department into investigating these claims, while Trump allegedly forced the resignation of US Attorney Byung Jin Pak, whom he believed was not doing enough to address claims of election fraud in Georgia.

Durbin told CNN on Thursday morning that when multiple courts rejected his legal appeals against Biden’s victory, and when the Justice Department ultimately didn’t step in to stop Biden’s win, Trump turned “the mob loose on the Capitol the day we were counting the ballots,” referring to the certification of Biden’s win on January 6.

The report treats the mere suggestion by former Attorney General William Barr last year that “mail voting creates a ‘high risk’ of extensive voter fraud” as evidence of a plot to overturn Biden’s win, despite arguments supporting Barr’s claim. It also states as fact that “Trump [incited] his supporters to breach the Capitol in an attempt to stop the certification of the 2020 Electoral College votes,” when Trump in reality told his followers to protest “peacefully and patriotically” outside the Capitol.

It does not allege any crimes by Trump or his administration, instead recommending that contact be limited between the White House and DOJ as a matter of procedure, and that DOJ lawyer Jeffrey Clark – who backed Trump’s claims of a stolen election – be investigated by the District of Columbia Bar Office. Furthermore, a House investigation into the January 6 riot on Capitol Hill is encouraged to probe a number of Republican lawmakers for their supposed involvement in stirring up the riot.

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Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) earlier announced the formation of the committee by declaring “the violent domestic attack on Congress on January 6th” to be “the worst assault on the Capitol since the War of 1812 and the worst domestic assault on American Democracy since the Civil War.” Moreover, the supposedly bipartisan committee includes only two Republicans, both of whom are outspoken opponents of Trump and were hand-picked by Pelosi herself.

In a statement on Wednesday, Trump called the 2020 election “the real insurrection,” and January 6 “a day of protesting the Fake Election results.” 

Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee have released their own version of Durbin’s report, with the GOP insisting that Trump “listened to his advisors,” refrained from firing anyone at the DOJ for not investigating his fraud claims, and expressed legitimate “concerns related to the US electoral system writ large.” 

Neither side is likely to change any minds. A poll earlier this summer found that more than half of surveyed Republicans believed that Donald Trump won the 2020 election and is the “true president” of the US. Another Democrat-run committee or Democrat-authored report is extremely unlikely to win them over. Likewise, Democrats are still investigating Trump almost a year after the election, and liberal pundits are still accusing him of plotting “his next coup.” 

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