A citizens watchdog organization has called for a federal criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump’s suspected “weaponization” of the Justice Department in an attempt to seize control of an election he had already lost.
The letter — to Attorney General Merrick Garland from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington — was sent Thursday following revelations that Trump had ordered acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen in a December phone call to “just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me,” according to hand-written notes taken at the time by a senior DOJ official who was on the call.
Trump was told the DOJ could not hold up the election because there was no evidence of fraud.
The shocking communication was part of a trove of documents recently released by House Oversight and Reform Committee that detailed efforts by Trump and his supporters to pressure the DOJ to support his baseless claims of election fraud. Trump called Justice Department officials almost daily to harangue them to overturn his election loss, despite any evidence of any corruption, according to the records.
The letter from CREW asks Garland to determine if Trump and his Chief of Staff Mark Meadows “violated federal criminal law by attempting to weaponize the DOJ in service of their larger campaign to overturn the results of the 2020 election.”
The organization is alleging that both Trump and Meadows violated both criminal law and provisions of the Hatch Act.
The newly released emails and other reports “appear to demonstrate that President Trump and Mr. Meadows illegally pressured senior DOJ officials to pursue politically motivated, frivolous election fraud investigations and file a baseless legal complaint in the United States Supreme Court as part of a conspiracy to deprive American citizens of their right to vote and have their votes counted,” the letter stated.
The letter also refers to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, arguing that Meadows and Trump’s behavior was “part of a broader conspiracy and … conduct aimed at undermining the democratic process that culminated in the seditious attack on the United States Capitol.”
There was no immediate response to the letter from Garland.
The House Oversight committee is currently conducting an investigation into the Capitol riot Jan. 6, and what led to it.
Trump on Saturday blasted the committee for releasing the notes, and said they were “dishonestly described” as an attempt by him to “overturn the election,” which he yet again baselessly described as “rigged.” He claimed that he was trying to “uphold the integrity and honesty of the vote,” according to a statement posted by his aide on Twitter, which has permanently banned the former president.
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