tv January 6 Hearings Fifth Hearing on Investigation of Capitol Attack CSPAN June 23, 2022 2:55pm-5:36pm EDT
deputy attorney general, and stephen angle, former assistant attorney general for the office of legal counsel. those
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we have seen the witnesses just arrive here. if you have watching you also see actor and activist, sean pan, among the attendees. among health kevin. virginia congresswoman abigail spanberger in attendance. the hearing is just moments away. you will see members of the committee file and together. that has typically happened about a minute after the top of the hour. we are just moments away from getting underway here with live coverage here on c-span.
the select committee to investigate the january 6th attacks the sly committee to investigate the january 6th attack on the united states capitol will be in order. without objection the chair is authorized to declare the committee in recess at any point. pursuant to house deposition authority regulation ten, the chair announces the committee's approval to release the deposition material presented during today's hearing.
good afternoon. in our previous hearings, the select committee showed that then president trump applied pressure at every level of government from local election workers up to his own vice president, hoping public servants would give into that pressure and help him steal an election he actually lost. today, we'll tell the story of how the pressure campaign also targeted federal agencies charged with enforcement of our laws, the department of justice. we already covered part of mr. trump's effort. we heard from attorney general bill barr tell the story and the committee about the baseless claims mr. trump wanted the justice department to investigate and that mr. barr viewed those claims as nonsense. today, we'll hear from jeffrey
rosen, the person mr. trump appointed to run the justice department after attorney general barr resigned. we'll hear from other at this in the other senior justice department officials also. together, these public servants resisted mr. trump's effort to misuse the justice department as part of his plan to hold on to power, and we will show that trump's demands that the department investigate baseless claims of election fraud continued into january 2021. but donald trump didn't just want the justice department to investigate, he wanted the justice department to help legitimize his lies, to basically call the election corrupt, to appoint a special counsel to investigate alleged election fraud, to sent a letter to six state legislatures urging them to
consider altering the election results. and when these and other efforts failed, donald trump sought to replace mr. rosen, the acting attorney general, with a lawyer who he believed would inappropriately put the full weight of the justice department behind the effort to overturn the election. let's think about what that means. wherever you live in the united states, there's probably a local government is that cute of, a mayor or a county commissioner there's also an official responsible for enforcing the laws, it district attorney, or a local prosecutor. imagine if your mayor lost a reelection bid but instead of conceding the race they picked up the phone, called a district attorney, and said, i want you to say this election was
stolen. i want you to tell the board of elections not to certify the results. that's essentially what donald trump was trying to do, with the election for president of the united states. it was a brazen attempt to use the justice department to advance the presidents personal political agenda. today, my colleague from illinois, mr. kinzinger, and other witnesses, will walk through the select committee's findings on these matters. but first, i recognize our distinguished vice chair, miss cheney of wyoming, for any opening statement she is scared to offer. >> thank you very much, mister chairman. at this point, our committee has just begun to show america the evidence that we have gathered. there is much more to come, both in our hearings and in our report. but i'd like to take just a moment to put everything we've seen in context.
we have already seen how president trump falsely declared victory on november 3rd, 2020. how he and his team launched a fraudulent media campaign that persuaded tens of millions of americans that the election was stolen from him. donald trump intentionally ran false ads on television and social media featuring allegations that his advisers and his justice department repeatedly told him were untrue. we've also seen how donald trump launched a fraudulent fund raising campaign that raised hundreds of millions of dollars, again, based on those same a false election fraud allegations. we've seen how president trump and his allies corruptly attempted to pressure vice president pence to refuse to count lawful electoral votes and obstruct congress's proceedings on january six and how he provoked a violent mob to pursue the vice president
and others in our cap capitol. we've seen how the president oversaw and personally participated in an effort in multiple states to vilify, threaten, and pressure election officials into and to use false allegations to pressure state legislators to change the outcome of the election. we have seen how president trump worked with and directed the republican national committee and others to organize an effort to create fake electoral slates and later, to transmit those materially false documents for two federal officials, again, as part of his planning for january 6th. we have seen how president trump persuaded tens of thousands of his supporters to travel to washington, d.c., for january 6th. and we will see informal detail so the president's rally and march to the capital were organized and choreographed. as you can tell, these efforts were not some minor or ad hoc
enterprise concocted overnight. each required planning and coordination. some required significant funding. all of them were overseen by president trump. and much more information will be presented soon regarding the presidents statements and actions on january 6th. today, as chairman thompson indicated, we turn to yet another element of the presidents effort to overturn the 2020 election. this one involving the department of justice. a key focus of our hearing today will be a draft letter that are witnesses here today refused to sign. this letter was written by mr. jeff clark with another department of justice department lawyer, ken kasky. and the letter was to be sent to the leadership of the georgia state legislature. other portions of the legislature that were intended for other states.
neither mr. drug nor mr. klulowski had any evidence of widespread electorate and flawed, but they were quite aware of what mr. trump wanted the department to do. jeff clarke met privately with president trump and others in the white house and agreed to assist the president without telling the senior leadership of the department who oversaw him. as you will see, this letter claims that the u.s. department of investigations have, quote, intended fight significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election in multiple states, including the state of georgia. in fact, donald trump knew this was a lie there. department of justice had already informed at the president of the united states repeatedly that is investigations had found no fraud serviceman to overturn the results of the 2020 election. the letter also said this, quote, in light of these developments, the department
recommends that the georgia general assembly should convene in special session. and quote. and consider approving a new slate of electors. and it indicates that a separate, quote, fake slate of electors supporting donald trump has already been transmitted to washington, d.c.. for those of you who have been watching these hearings the language of this draft justice department letter will sound very familiar. the text is similar to what we have seen from john eastman and rudy giuliani, both of whom were coordinating with president trump to overturn the 2020 election. when one of our witnesses today, mister donoghue, first saw this draft letter, he wrote this, quote, this would be a grave step for the department to take and it could have tremendous constitutional, political, and social ramifications for the country, and quote.
this committee agrees. had this letter been released on official department of justice letterhead, it would have falsely informed all americans, including those who might be inclined to come to washington on january 6th, that president trump's election fraud allegations were likely very real. here's another here's another observation about this letter. look at the signature line. it was written by jeff clark and mr., not just for clogs signature, but also for our witnesses today, jeff rosen and richard donoghue. when it became clear that neither mr. rosen nor mr. donoghue which signed this letter, president trump's plan necessarily changed. as you will hear today, donald trump offered mr. clock the job of acting attorney general, replacing mr. rosen, with the understanding that clock would send this letter to georgia and other states and take other actions the president requested. one other point.
millions of americans have seen the testimony of attorney general barr before this committee. got one point in his deposition, the former attorney general was asked why he authorized the department of justice to investigate fraud in the 2020 election at all. why not just to follow the regular course of action and that the investigations occurred much later in time, after january 6th? here's what he said >> felt the responsible thing to do was to be in a position to have a view as to whether or not there was fraud. and friday i think the fact that i put that myself in the position that i could say that we had looked at this and didn't think that was fraud was really important to moving things forward. and i sort of shudder to think what the situation would have been if the position of the department was we are not even looking at this until after biden's in office. i'm not sure we would have had a transition at all.
>> i want to thank each of our witnesses before us today for your role in addressing and robotics in the false allegations of fraud at the root of january 6th. and thank you for standing up to for the constitution and for the rule of law. of course, not all public officials and behaved in the honorable way our witnesses did. at the close of today's hearing, we will see video testimony by three members of donald trump's white house staff. they will identify certain of the members of congress who contacted the white house after january 6th to seek presidential pardons for their conduct. thank you, mister chairman i. yield back. >> thank you, thank you mister chairman. thank you to our witnesses for being here. i would like to start with a personal story. in may of 2009 our turn from
service interaction i announced my intention to it run for congress. a big reason to run for congress with my motivation to ensure freedom and democracy are defended overseas. i remember making a commitment out loud a few times and in my heart, repeatedly, that if we are going to ask americans to be willing to die in service of our country, we as leaders must at least be willing to sacrifice our political careers, our integrity, when our oath requires it. after all losing a job is nothing compared to losing her life. within the halls of power and a face of a president, that commitment can easily be forgotten. presidential pressure can be really hard to resist. today we will focus on a few officials who stood firm against president trump's political pressure campaign. when the president tried to misuse the department and in store a loyalist at its helm,
these brave officials refused and threatened to resign. they were willing to sacrifice their careers for the good of our country. the department of justice is unique in the executive branch. president overseas the department of justice, yet the president's personal or partisan interests must not shape or dictate the departments actions. the president cannot and must not use the department to serve his own personal interest. he must not use its people to do his political bidding. especially when what he wants them to do is to subvert democracy. the president cannot pervert justice nor the law to maintain his power. justice must both in fact and law be blind. that is critical to our whole system of self governance. during this hearing you will hear time and time again about
the presidents request to investigate claims of widespread fraud. our witnesses mr. rosen, mr. donahue and mr. angle stood firm in the face of herb -- they understood that their austin constitutional oath not to the personal or political interests of the president. the president and his allies became keenly aware with legal president exhausted and boats certified their only hope would be a last ditch scheme for congress certifying the wind, thus creating a chaos within the congress. sowing doubt in the political sea of his or action, to empower his followers and members of congress to take action. if his department could just lend credibility to the conspiracies, people would have the justification they needed to spread the big lie. president trump ultimately wanted the department of justice to say the election was,
quote, corrupt and quote, leave the rest to me and the republican congressman. as you will hear today, the department's top leadership refused. not surprisingly president trump did not take no for an answer. he did not accept it from attorney general barr, and he would not accept it from mr. rosen either. he looked for another attorney general. his third in two weeks. he needed to find someone who would be willing to ignore the facts. that is not the norm. let's look at what's attorney generals, democrat and republican alike, have said about upholding their oath to the constitution. >> attorney general ultimately owes his loyalty to the integrity of the american people and to the fidelity of the constitution anomie legitimate laws of the country. that is what he's ultimately required to do. >> there will be an independent attorney general, i will be the
peoples lawyer. if however there were an issue that i thought were that significant that were compromise my ability to serve as attorney general in the way that i have described, as the peoples lawyer. i would not hesitate to resign. >> i do not discussed at the president proposed to undertake a course of conduct that was a violation of the constitution that would present me with a difficult but not a complex problem. i would have two choices. i could either try to talk him out of it, or leave. those are the choices. >> the attorney general's position as a cabinet member is perhaps unique from all other cabinet members. yes, a member of the presidents cabinet. but the attorney general has a unique responsibility to provide independent and objective advice to the president, or any agency, when it is sought. sometimes perhaps even when it is not sought. >> everyone in that video from eric holder, to jeff sessions, spoke as one about the
independent of the department. it is a point of pride at justice to apply the law without the president's political self interest tainting its actions are dictating how uses its authority. president trump did fun one candidate at justice who seemed willing to do anything to help him stay at power. let's hear what president trump's own lawyer, eric herschmann, had to say about jeff clark's plan to overturn the election. i would like to advise viewers that this review contains some strong language. >> and when he finished discussing what he planned on doing i said good, excuse me sorry -- a whole, congratulations. you just admitted your first act of the attorney general re-complaining a felony of rule 1/6 a. you are clearly the right person for this job. >> who is jeff clark? an environmental lawyer with no experience relevant leading the entire department of justice. what was his only qualification? he would do whatever the
president wanted him to do, including overthrowing a free and fair democratic election. president trump's campaign to bend the justice department to his political will culminated in a showdown on january 3rd. today we will take you inside that early evening oval office meeting where top justice department officials met with the president. at stake, the leadership and integrity of the department of justice. >> the meeting took about another two and a half hours from the time that i entered. it was entirely focused on whether they should be a doj leadership change. i was sitting directly in front of the president. jeff clark was on my left. >> one thing we know was you are not going to do anything. you don't even agree that the
concerns that are being presented are valid. you are someone who has a different view. so, why should i do that? that's how the discussion then proceeded. >> jeff clark was proposing that jeff rosen be replaced by jeff clark. i thought the proposal was asinine. >> what were clark's purported basis for why it was in the presidents interest for him to step in, but would he do? how would things change, according to mr. clark in the meeting? >> he repeatedly said to the president that if he would put in the sea human conduct wheel investigations that would, in his view, uncover widespread fraud. he would send out a letter that he had drafted and that this
was a last opportunity to set this definitive election into action. he could do it, he had the intelligence and the will and the desire to pursue these matters in the way that the president thought most appropriate. >> he was making a pitch, every time he would get clobbered over the head. he would, like, say call to order, president into your decision. you have a chance to make this decision. you've heard everyone, you can make you determination. we would jump back in. really clobber him. >> i think the point that jeff clarke would not even be competent to point serve as attorney general. he's never been a criminal attorney, he's never conducted a criminal investigation's life. much less a trial hearing. he kind of retorted by saying well, i've done a lot a very
complicated appeals and civil litigation, environmental litigation, and things like that. and i said, that's right. here an environmental lawyer how about you go back to your office and we'll call you when there's an oil spill. pat cipollone weighed in at one point, i remember saying that letter that that guy wants to send, that letter is a murder suicide pact. it is going to damage everyone that touches it. we should have nothing to do with that letter. i don't ever want to see that letter again. we went along those lines. >> i thought jeff's proposed proposal was not! at a certain point, listen, the best i can tell as the only thing you know about environmental election challenges is a both start with you. i'm not even certain you know that based on your answers tonight. >> suppose i do this suppose i replace him with jeff rosen jefferson with jeff clark. what do you think? >> we know these men before us did the right thing. think about what happens if
these justice officials make a different decision? what happens if they bow to the pressure? what would that do to us as a democracy? as a nation? imagine a future where the president can screen applicants to the justice department with one question, are you loyal to me or the constitution? it would not take long to find people willing to pledge their loyalty to the man. we know many of president trump spoke with supporters on january 6th also wanted the justice department to do whatever he asked, as long as it meant that he could stay in power. make sure the justice department officials heard the message and they protested loudly in front of the department on their way to the capital on january 6th. >> do your job! do your job! >> live in d.c., we are marching to the capital.
we are at the department of justice right now telling these cowards to do their job! >> we are going to take the capital. >> i want to take a moment now to speak directly to my fellow republicans. i imagine the country's top prosecutor with the power to open investigation, subpoena, charge crime, and seek imprisonment. imagine that official pursuing the agenda of the other party instead of that of the american people as a whole. if you are a democrat, imagine at the other way around. today, president trump's total disregard for the constitution and his oath will be fully exposed. let's get this hearing underway so we can do our part to protect the freedoms we often take for granted. so we can see how close we came to losing it all. i yield back now to the chairman. >> we are joined today by three
distinguished witnesses, who each served in the trump administration in the months proceeding january 6th. mr. jeffrey rosen served at the department of justice. may 2019 until january 2021. the president trump's nomination and confirmation of the united states senate. he became united states deputy attorney general in december 2020 he took the mantle of acting attorney general. mr. richard donahue has served in the department of justice for over 14 years. mr. donahue was a united states attorney for the eastern district of new york. then became mr. rosen's principal attorney secretary deputy. mr. donoghue also served more
than 20 years in the united states military. including the 82nd airborne and the judge advocate airborne. we are also joined by mr. steven engel, former assistant attorney general for the office of legal counsel. he was nominated by the former president and confirmed by the senate during the trump administration. he served from november 2017 until january 2021. he has now returned private practice. i will now swear in our kisses. witnesses please stand and raise your right hands. do you swear under penalty of perjury the testimony you're about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. so help you god. >> thank you, you may be seated. let the record reflect the witnesses all answered in the
affirmative. i now recognize myself for questions. first of all gentlemen, thank you for being here today. all of you served at former president trump's pleasure at the department of justice. and trump leadership positions with tremendous responsibility. former attorney general, bill barr, told us like committee that before he left the department in december of 2020, he told president trump, on at least three occasions, there was no evidence of widespread election fraud that would've changed the results of the presidential election. refuted numerous specific claims of election fraud that the president was making. mr. rosen, after mr. barr announced his resignation, did donald trump continue to demand that the department of justice investigate his claims of election fraud? >> yes, he asserted that he
thought the justice department had not done enough. >> thank you. from the time you took over for attorney general barr until january 3rd, how often did president trump contact you or the department, to push allegations of election fraud? >> between december 23rd in january 3rd the president either called me or met with me virtually every day, with one or two exceptions, like christmas day before the, because it had been announced that i would be the acting attorney general before the date but i did, the president had asked, rich donahue and i go over and meet with him, i believe on december 15th, as well. after we had some of these meetings and conversations with the president, what things did
the president raise with you. >> so the common element to all of this was the president expressing his dissatisfaction that the justice department, in his view, and not done enough to investigate election fraud. but at different junctures, other topics came up at different intervals. so at one point, he had raised the question of having a special counsel for election fraud. at a number of points, he raised requests that i meet with his campaign counsel, mr. giuliani. at one point he raised whether the justice department would file a lawsuit in the supreme court. at a couple of junctures and there were questions about making public statements or about holding a press conference. and one of the later junctures, was this issue of sending a
letter to state legislatures in georgia or other states, and so there were different things raised had different parts or different intervals, the common theme being his dissatisfaction about what the justice department had done to investigate election fraud. i will say that the justice department declined all of those requests that i was just referencing because we did not think that they were appropriate based on the facts and the law as we understood them. >> thank you. so, mr. donoghue, on december 15th, the day after attorney general barr announced his reservation resignation, the president summit you and mr. rosen to the white house. at this meeting with the president, what did he want to discuss?
>> there were a number of topics of discussion that, mister chairman. much of the conversation focused on a report that had been recently released relating to antrim county in michigan, i believe on december 13th, an organization called the allied security group issued a report that alleged that the dominion voting machines in that county had to 68% error rate. the report was widely covered in the media, we were aware of it. we obtained a copy of it on the 14th of december, the day prior. we circulated it to the attorneys in michigan for their awareness. and we had a number of discussions internally, but the conversation with the president on that day, the 15th, was largely focused on that. but he was essentially saying, have you seen this report? he was adamant that the report must be accurate that it proved that the election was defective and that he in fact won the election and the department should be using that report to
basically tell the american people that the results were not trustworthy. and he went on to other theories as well. but the bulk of that conversation on december 15th focused on antrim county, michigan, and the disagree port. >> thank you. miss turner engel, we know that attorney general barr announced on december 1st, 20, 20 that the department of justice had found no evidence of widespread fraud that could have changed the outcome of the election. so from december 1st 2020 until today, as you sit here, have you ever doubted doubted a top line conclusion? >> no, i've never had any reason to doubt attorney general barr's conclusion. >> thank you. pursuant to section five c eight of house resolution 503 the clair now recognizes the gentleman from illinois, mr. kinzinger, for questions. >> thank you, mister chairman.
in the weeks leading to january 6th at the department of justice was fielding almost daily requests from the president to investigate claims of election fraud. each claim was refuted time and time again, and effort attorney general barr described as a whack-a-mole. when each of the presidents efforts failed he resorted to installing a new attorney general to say the election was illegal and corrupt, simply so he could stay in power. president trump started leaning on the justice department the first chance he got. on november 29th, his first television interview after the election. >> where is the doj and the fbi and all of this, mister president? you have laid out some serious charges here. shouldn't this be something that the fbi is investigating are? they? is the doj investigation? >> missing in action. can't tell you where they are. >> republican congressman
echoed the president just two days later. they wrote a letter to attorney general barr laying into the justice department for a, quote, shocking lack of action. investigating the claims of election fraud. that same day attorney general barr stated publicly that president trump's claims had no merit. ignoring the top law enforcement officer of the country, republican congressman amplified the stolen election message to the american public. let's listen. >> and so there's widespread evidence of fraud because people haven't done their jobs. durham and barr will deserve a big notation in history when it's written of the rise and fall of the united states if they don't clean up this mess, clean up the fraud, do your jobs, and say this a little
experiment in self government. >> again, i joined my colleagues in calling on attorney general barr to immediately let us know what he's doing. >> we are already working on a challenging the certified electors. and -- the court. how pathetic are the courts? >> >> january 6th, i'm joining with the fighters in the congress and we are going to object to electors from states and that didn't run clean elections. >> democracy is left undefended if we accept the results of a stolen election without fighting with every bit of vigor we can muster. >> the ultimate gay of significance is a january 6th. this is how the process works. the ultimate arbiter here, the ultimate check and balance, is that the united states congress, and when something is done in an unconstitutional fashion, which happened in several of these states, we have a duty to step forward and have this
debate and have this vote on the 6th of january. >> today is the day american patriots start taking down names and kicking has! >> mr. de donoghue, on december 27th, you had a 90 minute conversation with the president where he raised false claims after false claim with you and mr. rosen. how did you respond to what you called a, quote, scream of allegations? >> the december 27th conversation was in my mind an escalation of the earlier conversations, that is the former action as the former acting ag indicated there were a lot of communications that preceded that. as we got later into the month of december, the presidents and treaties became more urgent. he became more adamant that we were doing our job that we need to step up and do our job. and he had this arsenal of allegations that he wanted to
rely on. and so i felt in that conversation that it was incumbent on me to make it very clear to the president what our investigations had revealed and that we had concluded based on actual investigations, actual witness interviews, actual reviews of documents, and that these allegations are simply had no merit and i wanted to try to cut through the noise because it was clear to us that there were a lot of people whispering in his ear, feeding these conspiracy theories and allegations, and i felt that being very blunt in that conversation might help make it clear to the president if these allegations were simply not true and. so as we went through them and what for me was a 90 minute conversation or so, from the former acting ag was a two-hour conversation, as the president went through them, i went, piece by piece, to say, no, that's false, that is not true, and to correct him, really, in a serial fashion as he moved from one theory to another.
>> can you give me an example of one or two of those theories? >> so, one that was very clear at that point was the antrim county, the asog report that i mentioned earlier. the allied security operations group that said 68% error rate that there was antrim county hand recounted that had nothing to do with the department. the department did not request that. that was pursuant to litigation brought by other parties so but there was a hand recount so they could compare the hand recount toward the -- reported. for the bands that were actually counted by machine, more than 15, 000, there was one error and one barrett and i did a quick calculation and came up with 0.006 3% error rate which is well within talents. and so i made it very clear to the president, because he was so fixated on the asog report in the december 15th conversation and that in fact our investigation revealed that the error rate was a 0.006 3%.
so that was the presidents example of what people are telling you that's not true and that you cannot and should not be relying on. so that was one very explicit one and i think you see that reflected in my notes. we went through a series of others via a truck driver claimed to have moved an entire tractor trailer of ballots from new york to pennsylvania that was also incorrect. we did an investigation with espn where the ex fbi interviewed witnesses at the front end and back end of that trailers transit from new york to pennsylvania. we looked at loading manifests. we interviewed witnesses including of course with the driver. and we knew it wasn't true. whether the driver believe it or not was never clear to be. but it was just not true. so that was another one that i tried to educate the president on. there were a series of fathers, mostly in swing states, of course. you want to talk a great deal about georgia, the state forum arena video, which he believed for various reasons was as he
said it fraud staring you right in the face. >> were any of the allegations he brought up found credible? did you find any of them credible? >> no. >> so during this conversation, did you take handwritten notes directly quoting the president? >> i did. and to make it clear, attorney general rosen called me on my government cell phone said he'd been on the phone with the president for sometime, the president had a lot of these allegations. i was a bit of first in what the department had done just because i had close contact with the investigations in the ages -- on the call, of course i agreed. and i began taking notes only because at the outset the president made the allegation i had not heard. i've had many of the things, i knew many of them were investigated, but when the president at least when i came to the convoy conversation, he began speaking, he brought up an allegation i was completely unaware of. and of course i was concerned he simply reached out and grabbed a notepad off by -- night stampede and my pain and
started job to get done. if that had to do with an application that more than 200,000 votes were certified in the state of pennsylvania that were not actually cast. sometimes the president would say it was 205, sometimes he would say it was 250. but i had not heard this before and i wanted to get the allegations down clearly so that we can look into it if appropriate and that's why i started taking those notes and then as a continued i just continue to take the notes. >> let's take a look at the notes. if we could, right now. as we can see on the screen, you actually quote president trump asking, where is doj? just like we've heard him say in his first television interview. how did you respond to that? >> so, both the acting ag and i tried to explain to the president on this occasion and on several other occasions that the justice department has a very important, very specific, but in a very limited role in these elections.
states run their elections. we are not quality control for the states. we are obviously interested in and have a mission and that relates to criminal conduct, in relation to federal elections. we also have related civil rights responsibilities so we do have an important role. but the bottom line was if a state ran their election in such a way that it was a defective, that is to the state or congress to correct, it is not for the justice department to step in. and i certainly understood the president has only man not understanding why the justice department didn't have at least a civil role to step in and bring suit on behalf of the american people. we tried to explain that to the american people do not constitute the client for the united states justice department. at the one and only client of the united states justice department if the united states government. and the united states government does not have standing, as we were repeatedly
told by our internal teams, we will see that by steve angle, as well as the office of the solicitor general, researched it and give us their, clear opinions that we simply did not have standing. we tried to explain that to the president on numerous occasions. >> let's take a look at another one of you notes. you also noted that mr. rosen said to mr. trump, quote, doj count on whatsapp it's forgets and change the outcome of the election. how did the president to respond to those he? >> responded very quickly. he said, essentially, that is not when i'm asking you to do. i'm asking you to say it was corrupt and leave the rest to me to the republican congressman. let's put up the notes where you put up the president. as you are speaking to that, the president said, just say the election was corrupt, leave the rest to me and the republican congressman. so mr. donahue that is a
correct quote from president trump, correct? >> that is a direct quote. yes. >> the next no shows that even the president kept pressing, even though there was no evidence of fraud, the president kept saying the department was, quote obligated to tell people that this was an illegal, corrupt, election. >> that is also an exact quote from the president, yes. let me just be clear. did the department find any evidence that there was anything illegal or corrupt about the 2020 election? >> there were isolated instances of fraud. none of them came close to calling into question the outcome of the election in any individual state. >> how would you describe the presidents demeanor during that call? >> he was more agitated than he was on december 15th. the president, throughout all of these meetings and telephone conversation was adamant that
he had one. we were not doing our job. it did escalate over time until ultimately the meeting on january 3rd, which was the most extreme of the meetings and conversations. >> i want to make sure we do not glosses over. just say it was corrupt, leave the rest to us. the president wanted the top justice department officials to declare that the election was corrupt, even though as he knew there was no evidence to support that statement. the president didn't care about actually investigating the facts, he just wanted to department of justice to put its stamp of approval on the lies. who was going to help him? jeff clark. mr. rosen, on christmas eve your first official day as the acting attorney general, president trump called you. what did he want to talk about? >> the same things he was talking about publicly. he wanted to talk about that he
thought the election had been stolen, or was corrupt. that there was widespread fraud. i had told him that our reviews did not show that to be the case. we had an extended discussion, probably 15 to 20 minutes, something like that. with him urging that the department of justice should be doing more with regard to election fraud. >> did he mention jeff clark's name? >> yes. it was just in passing, he made what i regarded as a peculiar reference. i don't remember the exact quote but something about, did i know jeff clark? did i know who he was? something like that. i told him i did. the conversation just moved on. when i hung up i was quizzical as to how does the president even know mr. clark? i was not aware that they had ever met, or the president had
been involved in any of the issues in the civil division. >> it was a bit of a surprise when he brought his name up? >> yes. >> mr. clark is the acting head of the civil division. head of environmental in natural resource division of the department of justice. do either of those divisions have any role whatsoever in investigating election fraud, sir? >> no. to my awareness jeff clark and had no prior involvement of any kind with regard to the work that the department is doing, that attorney general barr has talked about with this committee. >> take a minute and explain why the president mentioned jeff clark's name to mr. rosen here on christmas eve. on december 21st, some republican members of congress met with president trump in the white house to talk about overturning the 2020 election. let's hear representative marjorie taylor greene talk about how this meeting got set up. >> i was the only new member at the meeting. i call president trump on
saturday and said, we have got to have a meeting. there are many of us that feel like this election has been stolen. >> on the screen you will see the president trump's chief of staff mark meadows tweeted about that meeting right after it happened. he said, quote, several members of congress just finished a meeting in the oval office with president donald trump, preparing to fight back against mounting evidence of voter fraud. stay tuned. on the same day he met with these republican members of congress, president trump called into a conservative political convention any use this opportunity to pressure the department of justice to investigate his bogus claims. >> the problem is we need a party that is going to fight. we have some great congressmen and women who are doing it. we have some great fighters. we won this in a landslide. they know it, we need backing from the justice department and other people have to finally step up. >> the select committee
obtained records from the national archive that showed that scott perry was one of the congressman who join that meeting. we learned from white house records that you will now see on the screen that the very next day representative perry returned to the white house, this time he brought a justice department official named jeffrey clark. representative perry provided the following statement to his local tv affiliate. he said, quote, throughout the past four years, i worked with assistant general clark on various matters. when president trump asked when i would make an introduction, i obliged. but why jeff clark? let's hear mr. giuliani explain the kind of person that he and the president wanted at the top of justice.
you mean beyond the president? >> correct. >> beyond the president i do recall saying to people that somebody should be put in charge of the justice department who isn't frightened of what is going to be done to their reputation. the justice department was filled with people like that. >> put somebody who is not frightened what is going to be done to the reputation. mr. donahue, when you told the president he wouldn't pursue baseless claims of fraud was it because you were worried about
your reputation? >> no, not at all. >> mr. clark's name was also mentioned in the white house in late december and early january as described as a top aide to mark meadows, cassidy hutchinson. >> was it your understanding that representative is pushing for a specific person of the department justice. >> he wanted mr. clark, mr. jeff clark to take over the department of justice. >> mr. rosen, after a call with president trump on december 24th, you spoke with mr. clark on december 26th about his contact with the president. can you tell us about that conversation? >> yes, because i have been quizzical about why his name had come up i called him. i tried to explore if he would share if there is something i ought to know. after some back and forth he acknowledged that shortly before christmas he had gone to a meeting in the oval office with the president. that, of course, surprised me.
i asked him, how did that happen? he was defensive. he said, it had been unplanned. he had been talking to someone he referred to as general perry, but i believe is congressman perry. unbeknownst to him he was asked to go to a meeting, he didn't know it. he found himself at the oval office. he was apologetic for that. you can tell me about it, it wasn't authorized, you don't even tell me after the fact. this is not appropriate! he was contrite. he said it had been inadvertent, it would not happen again. if anyone asked if he went to such a meeting, he would notify rich donahue and me. >> is there a policy that governs who can have contact directly with the white house? >> yes. across many administrations for a long period of time there is a policy that, particularly in
regard to criminal investigation, restricts both the white house and and the department of justice and those more sensitive issues to the highest ranks. for criminal matters the policy for a long time has been that only the attorney general in the deputy attorney general from the doj side can have conversations with criminal matters regarding the white house. or the attorney general or deputy attorney general can authorize someone with a specific item, with their position. the idea is to make sure that the top run of the justice department knows about it, is in the thing and they can control it and ensure that only appropriate things are done. >> mr. engel, from your perspective why is it important to have a policy as mr. rosen just discussed? >> it is critical that they conduct their investigations free from either the reality or any proposed political interference. people can get in trouble if
people in the white house are speaking with people within the department. that is why the purpose of these policies is to keep these communications as in frequent, and at the highest levels, as possible. just to make sure that people who might be less careful about it, who may not understand these implications, such as mister clerk, do not run afoul of those content policies. >> thank you. the select committee conducted an informal interview with the white house counsel pat sub lonely and his deputy pat film in. and yet has agreed to sit for transcribed or videotaped interviews. but -- they intervened when he heard that mr. clark was meeting with the president without his knowledge, which was strictly against white house policy. mr. philbin, like mr. rosen, told mr. clark to stand down, and he did not. on the same day, acting attorney general rosen told mr. clark to stop talking to the
white house. representative perry was urging chief of staff mark meadows to olivier clark within the department of justice. you can now see on the screen behind me a series of attacks between representative perry and mr. meadows. they show that representative perry requested that mr. clark be elevated within the department. representative perry tells mr. meadows deng december 26th that, quote, mark just checking in as time continued to count down. 11 days until january 6th. 25 days until inauguration. we have got to get going! representative perry follows up and says, quote, mark, you should call jeff! i just got off the phone with him. he explain to me why the principal deputy won't work, especially with the fbi. they will view it as not having the authority to enforce what needs to be done. >> mr. meadows responds with, i got it. i think i understand. then we work on the deputy
position. >> representative perry than texas, roger, just sent you something on signal. just sent you an updated file. did you call jeff clark? >> mr. donahue, representative perry called you the next day on december 27th. who told him to call you? >> my understanding is the president did it. during the call perry told me that he was calling up behest of the president. >> what did he want to talk about? >> he wanted to talk about pennsylvania, in particular. he gave me some background about why he, in particular, does not trust the fbi. one of the american people don't necessarily trust the fbi. he went into some allegations, specific to pennsylvania which included, amongst others, this allegation that the secretary of state had certified more votes than were actually cast. >> the new direct the local u.s. attorney's office to
investigate that claim? >> mr. perry said he had a great deal of information. investigations had been done. there was some sort of forensic type report that would be helpful to me. i did not know congressman perry, had never heard of him before the conversation. i said, sir, if you think something that is relevant to the justice department mission is, you should feel free to send it to me. he did. i was on route from washington to new york. i got it, i looked at it on my iphone. i couldn't read the whole thing in transit like that. i looked at it to get a feel for what it was, i forwarded it to the united states attorney for the western district of pennsylvania today get back to you but did they conclude. >> scott brady looked at it he was the u.s. attorney, it took him a couple days. he got back relatively short order with a pretty clear explanation for why there was no foundation for concern. secretary of state had not certified more votes than are
actually cast. the difference between the five point 25 which was actually certified by the secretary of state and the 5 million which is on a public facing website was that the information on the website was incomplete because four counties had not uploaded their data. so it had no credibility to that? >> there was zero to that, right. >> during that call, did scott perry mention mr. clark? and what did he say about him if so? >> he did. you mentioned mr. clark. he said something to the effect of i think jeff clark is great, and i think he's the kind of guy that could get in there and do something about this stuff. and this was coming on the heels of the president having mentioned mr. clock in the afternoon call earlier that day. >> i'd like to yield to the gentlewoman from wyoming, and vice chair cheney. >> thank you very much, mister kinzinger. i thank the gentleman for yielding. as we discussed earlier at the center of mr. clark's plan to undo president trump's election
laws was a letter. mr., on december 20th, mr. clark emailed you and mr. rosen it draft the letter that he wanted you to sign and sent to georgia state officials. you testified that this could have, quote, grave constitutional consequences. mr. donoghue, could you tell us what you meant by that? >> well, i had to read both the email and the attached ledger twice to make sure i really understood what he was proposing because it was so extreme to me i had a hard time getting my head around it initially. but i read it and i did understand it for what he intended, and i had to sit down and sort of composed what i thought was an appropriate response. i actually where it initially went next door to the acting ag's office and he was not there. we both were on email and we knew we would both have only have a similar reaction to what. he was not in my office. i returned to my office and i sat down to draft a response because i thought it was very important to give it era a
trump prompt response rejecting this out of hand. they were, in response i explained a number of reasons this is not the department's role to suggest or dictate to state legislatures how they should select their electors. but more importantly, this was not based on fact, this was actually contrary to the facts as developed by the department investigations over the last several weeks and months. so i responded to that and for the department to insert itself into the political process this way, i think would have had grave consequences for the country. it may very well have spiraled us into a constitutional crisis. and i wanted to make sure that he understood the gravity of the situation because he didn't seem to really appreciate it. >> and what was mr. clark's reaction when you sent this email to him? >> he didn't respond directly to the male. but we met shortly after that after i sent the email. the acting ag returned, i went to his office, he had just read
it, he had a very similar reaction to be. he was exasperated and he told me that he had told one of his administrative assistance to get jeff clout jeff got up here. we want to talk face-to-face about this and then the three of us had a meeting probably around 1800 that night in and deputy attorney general's conference room. >> and one of the things that you said to mr. clark is, quote, what you are doing is nothing less than the united states justice department meddling in the outcome of a presidential election. and i have seen you conveyed that to him as well in your meeting that evening? >> yes, in those very words. it was a very contentious meeting, but yes. that was set amongst other things. >> and despite this contentious meeting, your strong reaction to the letter did mr. clark continue to push this concept in the coming days? >> you did, yes. we had subsequent meetings and conversations. the acting ag probably had more contact with him than i did. but between 28 and a second,
when we had another important meeting, he clearly continued to move down this path. he began calling witnesses and apparently conducting investigations of his own. and he got a briefing from dni about purported foreign intelligence interference, and we thought perhaps once it was explained to him that there was no basis for that part of his concern that he would retreat but instead he doubled down and said, well, okay so there's no foreign interference. i still think there are enough allegations out there that which go ahead and send this letter, which shocked me even more than the initial one, because you would think after a couple of days of looking at this he like we would have come to the same conclusion that it was completely unfounded. >> and when you learned that he had been calling witnesses and conducting investigations on his own, did you confront him? >> yes. >> and what was his reaction? >> he got very defensive.
you know, as i said, there were a series of contests conversations with that. weeknights we remember very specifically the conversation in the meeting on january 2nd. that got even more confrontational. but he was defensive, and drafted this letter to george -- mr. clark. mister clerk husky had arrived at the department on december
16th which in 30 days six days left until they are north korea shun. he was specifically assigned to work under jeff clark and mr. klukowski also worked with john eastman who, we showed you at our hearing last week was one of the player primary architects of president trump's scheme to overturn the election. the georgia letter that we've been discussing specifically talks about some of the doctor eastman's this year's, including, quote, the purpose of the special session the department recommends would be for the general assembly to determine whether the election failed to make a proper and valid choice between the candidates, such that the general assembly could take whatever action is necessary to ensure that one of the slate of electors cast on december 14th will be accepted by congress on january 6th. the committee has also learned that the relationship between doctor eastman and mr. klukowski persisted after mr. klukowski joined the justice department. let's take a look at an email
recommending that mr. klukowski and dr. eastman brief vice president pence and his staff. other recipients of this email included the chief of staff to congressman louis gohmert and. the email says, as stated last week, i believe the vice president and his staff would benefit greatly from a briefing by john and kim. as i also mentioned, we want to make sure we don't overexposed can given his new position. this email suggests that mr. klukowski was the simultaneously working with jeffrey clark to draft the proposed letter to georgia officials to overturn their certified election and working with doctor eastman to help pressure the vice president to overturn the election. i want to thank all of our witnesses for being here today and for answering your questions about this letter and other issues. we asked mr. clark some of the same questions that we've asked you and here's how he answered. >> did you discuss this draft
letter to georgia officials with the president of the united states? >> yes, executive privilege. again, just restated for an abundance of caution. >> again, if you looked again at the draft letter in the first paragraph second sentence says the department will update you as we are able on the investigatory progress but at this time we have identified significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election in multiple states, including the state of georgia. isn't that in fact contrary to what attorney general barr had said on december 1st, 2020? >> yes. >> mister chairman, i yield back. >> mister chairman, i reserve. >> pursuant to the order, the committee of today, the chair declares at the committee in recess for a period of approximately ten minutes.
the january six committee in a brief break right now. we expect it to last about ten minutes. this first portion of the hearing has run about 90 minutes in its entirety. committee members today hearing from three former justice department officials, jeffrey rosen, the former acting attorney general, richard donoghue, the former acting deputy attorney general, and steven engel, former assistant attorney general for the office of legal counsel. and if you missed any of today's hearing, we will be showing it again in its entirety tonight, starting at nine eastern. it will be on c-span.
again, the january 6th committee, in a brief break. we will be back in about five minutes. this session is not expected to last as long as some of the previous hearings, and for the first hour and ten minutes today, members are focusing on a pressure campaign by former president trump and his allies against the justice department in days after the 2020 presidential election. three former justices are testifying today, and as you can see, they are coming back into the room. jeffrey rosen, former accurate
-- and steven angle, former assistant to the office of legal counsel. today's questioning is being rem kinzinger of illinois, serving up his sixth term representing the 16th district, he has renounced his retirement. kinzinger voted to impeach trump after the attack, in addition to this committee, he serves on the energy and commerce foreign affairs committee, he is an active member of the national guard, with the rank of lieutenant colonel. we want to let you know the today's committee hearing and all c-span programming is brought to you as a public service by the cable industry, and these television companies, including altus, compact, and u-verse. if you're watching on tv, but you have to step away, you can continue watching the hearing on the go with c-span now. our free mobile video app, our speeches, hearings, and
the committee will be in order. the chair recognizes illinois. >> thank you mister chairman, around the time that mr. clark was pushing for the department to send the georgia letter, the president and his supporters were pressuring the justice department to take other actions to change the outcome of the 2020 election. mr. engel, you are the head of the office of legal counsel, can you explain your role? what is that? >> sure. one of the attorney general's
most important responsibilities is to provide legal advice to the president of the executive branch, as a practical matter given the responsibilities of the attorney general, the assistant attorney general for the office of legal counsel exercises that job on a day-to-day basis. in addition, the head of the -- essentially to the attorney general, and often the chief legal adviser to the ag, as well as to the white house executive branch. >> given that role, can you describe your relationship with the president? >> in connection with my role at olc, my over my tenure, there were many instances in which folks at the white house would seek to break me into provide legal advice to the president. sometimes, discussing legal options that could be pursued amongst various policy objectives, sometimes to advise the president that the course
of action that they we are discussing was not legally available. >> two things that the president asked you and the department to do, the first is reflected in this email that we are going to put on the screen. the president sent a draft lawsuit to be filed with the supreme court. he wanted you, specifically to review it. you opposed filing it. we see on the screen here that the talking points the you actually drafted on that, you stated that there is no legal basis to bring this lawsuit, anyone who thinks otherwise simply does not know the law, much less the supreme court. why was this in the departments position? >> the memo speaks to this, but essentially this was a draft lawsuit that apparently was prepared, it would be styled as the united states, in original
jurisdiction matter in the supreme court. it was a merit-less lawsuit, not something that the department would bring, somebody prepared it to him to the president, and he forwarded it on to the review. this explains why the department of justice, as donahue said earlier, it would've been untimely, the states had chosen their electors. they had been certified, they cast their votes, it had been sent to washington d.c., and either georgia or the other states, or whenever this was, we're in a position to change those votes. the only thing that hadn't happened was the formal counting of the votes, and so obviously, the person who drafted this lawsuit did not understand, in my view, the law, or how the supreme court works, or the department of justice. it was not something we would do, the acting attorney general asked me to prepare a memo for talking points that we can
explain our reasoning when he spoke with the president about this. >> would you say it's an unusual request? >> the quest that the department filed a lawsuit, was certainly an unusual request. >> there was another issue the u.s. to looked into, in december, did the white house ask attorney barr -- >> yes, the president was probably vocal at the time that he believed that the special counsel was something that should be considered to look into election fraud, and there was a specific request where the attorney general saw my legal advice in the middle of december. >> what was your conclusion? >> this request was whether the attorney general could appoint as a special counsel a state attorney general, to conduct an investigation. as a leader in that matter, under federal law, the attorney general has wide discretion to
execute prosecutorial faction -- and not uncommon, only a state attorney general exercises prosecutorial a 40 -- when we looked at the issue, what we saw was that the state law, the state was louisiana, that the state law precluded the louisiana attorney general the official position, on behalf of the united states government. that answers your question, it was not legally available. >> during your time at the department, was there any basis to appoint a special counsel to investigate president trump's election fraud claims? >> not attorney general rosen or barr, you would appoint a special counsel when there is a basis for investigation, and the department has a conflict of interest, it's important to get somebody independent outside of the investigation,
neither barr or rosen ever believed that was appropriate or necessary in this case. >> attorney barr had already told the president that there is no need, he stated that publicly, and we will see that from a video into somber 21st. >> to the extent that the investigation, i think it is being handled responsibly and professionally, currently within the department, and to this point, i have not seen a reason to go to special counsel, i have no plan to do so before i leave. >> remember, the december 21st was the same day that president trump met with republican members at the white house, to strategize about how to overturn the election while his attorney general is out telling the public, again, that there were no widespread evidence of election fraud, and yet two days later we have president trump tweeting publicly to, pressure the department to have
a special counsel. he said quote, after seeing the massive voter fraud in the 2020 election, i disagree with anyone -- is not needed immediately. this was the most corrupt election in the history of our country, and it must be closely examined. the select committee's investigation revealed that president trump witnessed far as to promise the job of special counsel to now discredited former trump campaign lawyer sydney powell, at a late night meeting on december 18th. >> on friday, he had asked me to have a special counsel to address the election issues. and to collect evidence, and he was extremely frustrated with the lack of law enforcement. by any of the government
agencies that are supposed to act to protect the rule of law in our republic. >> let's think, what would a special counsel to? only days to go, until election certification, it was not to investigate anything. an investigation, led by a special counsel, he just create an illusion of legitimacy, and to provide fake cover to those who would want to object, including those who stormed the capitol on january 6th. all of his plans for the justice department were being rebuffed by mr. rosen, mr. donoghue, mr. engel, and others. the president became desperate, entering the new year, with january 6th fast approaching. he rushed back from mar-a-lago on january 1st, and called a emergency meeting with the departments leadership. here is mr. donoghue describing the last minute --
>> the president was a little more agitated than he had been in the meeting on the 15th. he discussed a variety of election matters. he did say, this sounds like the kind of thing that would want the appointment of special counsel. there was a point at which the president said something about one of you guys seized machines. >> mr. rosen, the president asked you to seize voting machines from state governments. what was your response to that request? >> that we had seen nothing improper with regard to the voting machines and i told him that the real experts of that had been a dhs and they had briefed us that they had looked at it and that there was nothing wrong with the voting machines.
and so, that was not something that was appropriate to do. >> so there would be no factual basis to seize machines? >> i don't think there was a legal authority either. >> mr. donoghue, can you explain what the president did after he was told that the justice department would not seize voting machines? >> the president was very agitated by the acting attorney general's response and to the extent that machines and the technology was being discussed, the acting attorney general said that the dhs, department of homeland security, has expertise and machines and certifying them and making sure that the states are operating them properly. and since dhs had been mentioned, the president yelled out to his secretary, get ken cuccinelli on the phone. and she did in very short order. mr. cuccinelli was on the phone. he was number two at dhs at the
time. i was on the speakerphone, and the president essentially said, can, i'm sitting here with the acting attorney general. he just told me it's your job to see some scenes and you're not doing your job. and mr. cuccinelli responded. >> mr. rosen, did you ever tell the president that the department of homeland security could seize voting machines? >> no, certainly not. >> mr. donahue, during this meeting, it did the president tell you that he would remove you and mr. rosen because you weren't declaring and there was election fraud? >> towards the end of the meeting the president again was getting a very agitated and he said, people tell me i should just get rid of both of you. i should just remove you. and make a change in leadership put, jeff clock in, maybe something will finally get done. and i responded as i think i had earlier in the december 27th call, mister president, you should have the leadership that you want. but understand, the united
states justice department functions on facts, evidence and law. and those are not going to change. so you can have whatever leadership you want, but the departments position is not going to change. >> the presidents white house counsel pat cipollone was also pressed the president do. you remember what his position was? >> i was very supportive of paths baloney throughout these conversations, he was extremely supportive of the justice department. he was consistent. i think you have an impossible job at that time but he did it well and he also cited the judge sided with the justice department on these discussions. >> so let's pause for the second. new year's eve. president trump is talking about seizing voting machines and making the same demands that had already been shot down by former attorney general barr on at least three occasions and why mr. rosen and mr. donoghue on multiple other occasions. claim after claim knocked down. but the president didn't care. the next day chief of staff maurer meadows sent a flurry of emails to you, mr. robin, asking that the department look
into a new set of allegations. and we're going to put those emails here on the screen. here we see three requests made on january forest. one email is a request from mr. meadows to you, mr. rosenberg, to send jeffrey clark to fulton county. what did you do with this request? >> well, really, nothing. certainly didn't send mr. clark to fulton county. but that email was the first corroboration i had seen of mr. clark had told me that that point is that the president was considering making the change by monday, january 4th. so mr. meadows's email was something awful corroboration that there were discussions going on. i had not been informed about by mr. clark or anybody else. >> i'm interested in the second request. you have is to have the department of justice lawyers investigate allegations of fraud related to new mexico.
mr. rosen, did you have concern about these emails? >> yes. really, to concerns about that one. one was that it was coming from a campaign or political party and it was really not our role to function as, you know, an arm of any campaign for any party or any campaign that wasn't our role. that's part of what i have been unwilling to meet with mr. giuliani or of any of the campaign people before. and the other part was it was another one of these moments where lots of work had already been done and i thought it was a rehash of things that have been debunked previously. so the final email here in >> the final email here included and completely basis conspiracy theory that dylan italian-based defense contractor uploaded data for to a satellite that switch votes from trump to biden. the investigative committees --
weighted from the recesses of the internet to the highest echelons of our government. on december 31st, mr. meadows received this internet conspiracy theory from representative perry. >> on the screen now is the text that representative perry said to mr. meadows, copying a youtube link with the message, quote, why can't we just working with the italian government? the next day, the presidents chief of staff said the youtube link to mr. rosen, who forwarded to mr. donoghue. mr. donoghue, did you watch this video? >> i did, congressman. >> how long was the video? >> approximately 20 minutes. >> let's just take a look at a expert of that video, if we may. >> it's being said out of rome, out of italy, is that this was done in the u.s. embassy. that there was a certain state department guy whose name i don't know he had, i guess this is probably going to come out
in italy at some point, and he was the mastermind, not the mastermind, but the, at any rate, the guy wanted the operation of changing the vote. and he was doing this in conjunction with some support from mi6, this ei, and this leonardo group. >> mr., what was your reaction when you watched that entire 20 minute video? >> i emailed the acting attorney general and i said, pure insanity, which was my impression of the video, which was patently absurd. >> mr. rosen, you are asked by mr. meadows to meet with mr. johnson who is the person in that video. what was your reaction to that request? >> so ordinarily, i get an email like this and there was no phone call, it would just come over the trial. so this one, he called me, mr.
meadows, and asked me to meet with mr. johnson. and i told him this whole thing about italy had been debunked and that should be the end of that. and i certainly wasn't going to meet with this person. and he initially seemed to accept that and he said why won't you meet with them i? said, because if he has real evidence? , which this video doesn't show, he can walk into an fbi field office anywhere in the united states -- this 55 of them and. andy said, okay. then he called me back a few minutes later and complained and said i, didn't tell you, but this fellow johnson is working with rudy giuliani and mr. giuliani is really offended that you would think they have to go to an fbi field office. that's insulting. so can you just have the fbi or, you meet with these guys? and by then i was somewhat agitated and told him that
there was no way on earth that i was going to do that, i wasn't going to beat with johnson, i certainly wasn't going to beat with mr. giuliani, i made that clear repeatedly and said that santa that, don't worry that with me again. and so, because mr. donahue and i had been in exchange-ing our views about this, it was a 7:13 on a friday right of new year's day, and i'd run out of patients, that they said and emails that you're talking about, where i made pretty clear that i had no interest in doing anything for further with this. >> just open this up, mr. donoghue, did you receive a follow-up call from a department of defense official about this conspiracy? >> i did i. believe it was that same game. >> can you give it details on that at all? >> i received a telephone call from kathy patel who i knew was a dod official at the time, who believed, i believed act for
acting secretary of defense, mueller and he didn't know much about it he. basically said do, you know anything about this italy thing on what this is all about? and i informed him that the chief of staff had raised the issue of this with us on december 29th, that we had look to it a little bit. we had run the name that was provided to us by the chief of staff. i learned that that individual was in custody in italy. he had been arrested for a cyber offense of some sort in italy, the allegation was that he had been exfoliating data from his company. he was either an employer contractor of that company. he was in custody. that the whole thing was very, very murky at best. and the video was observed. but that we at the department were not going to have anything to do with it and d.o.d. should -- but they were going to do but i made it clear that i didn't think it was anything worth pursuing. >> she called the video absurd, and despite the absurdity of
that conspiracy theory, we learned that mr. meadows discussed frequently in the met -- he did not let the matter go. the request went from the department of justice to the secretary of defense christopher miller, as you, here he reached out to a high ranking official based in italy. to follow up on this claim. >> when you color the defense, find out what is going on, i'm hearing these crazy reports, a guy on the ground who is worse than anything. >> the select committee confirmed that a call was placed by secretary miller, to the attaché in italy to investigate the claim that italian satellites were switching votes. from trump to biden. this is one of the best examples of the leaks to which the president trump would go to stay in power. scouring the internet to support his conspiracy theories shown here, as he turns mr.
donahue in the december 27th call, quote, you guys may not be following the internet the way that i do. president trump's efforts to this point had failed, stonewalled by mr. donahue, they had only one option, they needed to make clark the acting attorney general. mr. rosen, during a january 2nd meeting with january clark -- did you talked him about his contact with the president, if so, can you describe that? >> at this point, mr. clark had told us that the president had asked him to be willing to replace me, supposedly on a timetable by monday, i had told mr. cark, i had said that he was making a colossal error in judgment. i hoped to spur persuade him, to be more rational and
understood what we had understood, that there was no factual basis for the fraud assertions that were being made. at this meeting, mr. donahue and i had met with mr. clark, and i guess my hopes were disappointed in that mr. clark continued to express the view that he thought there was fraud, even though he had not been a participant in the departments review of that. and that there was dissatisfaction about what we were doing. he had acknowledged that he had further, i'm not sure if it was meetings or phone calls, but further discussion with the president, despite having, a week earlier, saying that he would not do that, and if he did, and got an invitation to do that. he would lip richard donoghue or amino. it was a contentions meeting, where we were chastising him, that he was insubordinate, he
was out of line, he had not honored his own representations of what he would do. he raised, again, that he thought that letter should go out and we were not receptive to that. >> did he tell you in that, that the president had offered him the job of acting attorney general? >> that was a day later, on the second, he said that the president had asked him to let him know if he would be willing to take it. subsequently, he told me that, on sunday the third, he told me that the timeline had moved up, and it the president had often read him the job, and he was accepting it. >> what was your reaction to that? >> on the one hand, i was not going to accept being fired by my subordinate, i wanted to talk to the president directly. with regard to you the reason to that, i wanted to convince
the president not to go down the wrong path that mr. clark seemed to be advocating. it was not about me, there were only 17 days left in the administration at that point, i would've been perfectly content to either the general and -- if anybody wanted to do that. i did not want the department of justice to be put in a posture where it would be doing things that were not consistent with the truth, were not consistent with its own appropriate role, or not consistent with the constitution. i did four things when mr. clark left my office on that sunday, the third, number one, i called mark meadows and said that i needed to see the president right away. he was agreeable, set up a meeting, for 6:15 on sunday, about two hours away. two, i called pat cipollone,
the white house counsel, told him what was going on, he said he would go into the white house to make sure that he was at the meeting, and support the justice department's position as he had been doing consistently. three, i called steve engel, who is at the department, on sunday, there were some reasons that i need to be there. mr. engel, i called him at home, asked him to come to the meeting, which he did. he proved to be quite helpful, and then number four, i asked richard donoghue and -- to get the departments senior leadership on the call, and to let them know it was going on. and then, eric herschmann called me to tell me that he was going to go to the meeting, and that he would be supporting the department of justice's position as well. i knew that the meeting was on course, and that i would have a number of people supportive of
the department of justice's approach. and not supportive of mr. clark's approach. >> did mr. clark ask you to continue to stay at the apartment? >> at that sunday meeting, when he told me that he would be replacing me, you he said that he would ask to see me alone, usually he messed me with donoghue, because he thought he would be appropriate in light of what was happening to at least offer me that i could stay on at his deputy. i thought that was preposterous, told him that that was nonsensical, and that there was no universe where i was going to do that. to stay on, and support somebody else doing things that were not consistent with what i thought should be done. i did not accept that offer, if i can put it that way. >> during that meeting, did he ask you to sign the georgia letter? >> that was on the saturday
meeting, january 2nd that mr. donahue and i had with him. again, he raised with both of us, that he wanted us both to sign that letter. >> in that meeting, did mr. clark say that he would turn down the presidents offer if he reversed your position, and signed the letter? >> yes. >> did mr. clark say still refused to sign? >> mr. donoghue and i were both consistent with not signing the letter, and it did not matter what mr. clark proposition was, in terms of his own activities, we were not going to sign that letter as long as we were in charge of the justice department. >> thank you for that. mr. donoghue, were you expecting to attend a white house meeting on january 1st? >> no, as the acting ag
indicated, that related to preparations for january 6th. i had no expectations of leaving the department, it is a sunday afternoon, i was there in civilian clothes, e bo were. i expected to have that meeting, do some other work, but i had no expectation of going to the white house that day. >> prior to that oval office meeting, did you set up a conference call with senior leadership at the department? if, so tell us about that call. >> yes, obviously was a bit of a scramble that afternoon to prepare for the oval office meeting, we had discussed on several occasions, the acting attorney general and i, whether we should expand the circle of people who knew what was going on. it is important that steven engel new, and that's why i reached out to him on december 28th, if mr. rosen was removed from the seat, and the president did not attack -- just by function of the
departments chain of succession, mr. engel would be in the seat, we wanted him to know what was going on if that should occur. if he knew, we also brought the four of us in, no one else aside from jeff clark knew it was going on until late that sunday afternoon. we chose to keep a close hold, because we did not want to create concern or panic in the justice department leadership. at this point, the i asked the acting ag would else i could do to help prepare for this meeting at the oval office, he said you and pat should get the ag on the phone, it is time to let them know what is going on. let's find out what they may do, if there is a change in leadership. that will help inform the conversation at the oval office. pat hovakimian, consequently set up that meeting, we got most of the ags on the phone, and very quickly explain to
them with the situation was, i told them that i do not need an answer from you right now, i don't need an answer in this phone call. but if you have an answer, i needed in the next few minutes. call me, email me, text me, whatever it is, if you know what you would do, if jeff clarke is put in charge of the department. immediately, eric drive-in, who is the ag of the civil rights division said that i don't need to think about it, there is no way that i am staying. and the other ags became to chime in, in turn, essentially said that they would leave. they would resign in mass, if the president made that change in the department leadership. >> incredible. i'd like to look at the assistant attorney generals on the screen. if we can pull that up. the pictures, yet every assistant attorney general as you said you spoke to agree to resign? >> -- was not on the call on you because we had some difficulty reaching him.
but yes, the other people on the screen were on the call and all, without hesitation, said that they would resign. >> so as part of the select committee's investigation we found that while mr. rosen, mr. donoghue and mr. engel were preparing for that meeting at the white house, jeff clark and the president where in constant communication beginning at 7 am. white house call logs obtained by the committee show that by four 90 pm on january 3rd, the white house had already begun referring to mr. clark as the acting attorney general. as far as the white house was concerned, mr. clark was already at the top of the justice department. two hours later, doj leadership arrived at the white house. the select committee interviewed every person who was inside the room, what's inside the room during this sunday evening oval office meeting. mr. cipollone told the committee that he was, quote,
unmistakably angry during the meeting and that he along with eric harshman and mr. donahue, quote, forcefully challenged mr. clock to produce evidence of election fraud theories. mr. rosen, can you describe how that meeting started? >> yes. so after some preliminaries -- so mr. meadows had assured us all in and then he left so mr. cipollone did some introductions and after some preliminaries the president turned to me and he said, well, one thing we know is you, rosen, you aren't going to do anything. you don't even agree with the claims of election fraud. and this other guy at, least, by do something. and then i said, mister president, your right that i'm not going to allow the justice department to do anything to try to overturn the election. that's true. but the reason for that is
because that's what's consistent with the facts and the law. that's what's required under the constitution. so that's the right answer and a good thing for the country, and therefore i submit is the right thing for you, mister president. that kicked off another two hours of discussion in which everyone in the room was in one way or another making different points. but supportive of my approach for the justice department and critical of mr. clark. >> so at some point, this issue donoghue comes in the room. can you explain a little -- to him coming in the room? >> oh i, forgot about that. so, initially, in part i think because he was under dressed and we had not arranged, we had not yet told the president that he was going to come in, the white house had a list of who would be there. -- mr. engel and the white house counsel, and the deputy white house counsel, mr. herschmann.
we went in and then we told the president, maybe ten minutes into the meeting or something, i forget how foreign, mr. donoghue was outside and. he said, we'll bring him in. and then mr. donoghue kim in and join to the meeting. >> so mr., you enter that room. can you set the scene for us and describe the tone you walked into? >> yes. but if i could just back up one moment, congressman, because you put the pictures up on the screen of the ag's, i want to make clear that one of the ages not on the screen was john tumors. john was the national security division ag. john was on the call. i preface the call by saying, john, we need you to stay in place. national securities too important. we need to minimize their is destruction. with your design is obviously up to you. obviously we'll ex respect your decision either way and i ask you to please stay in place. and he did. so i don't want to leave the impression that he was not going to resign. >> great. thank you. thank you for that. >> so without regard to entering the oval office, i was sitting in the hallway.
and administration's position assistant passed by, ask me i'm or are you supposed to be in this meeting for the president? i replied no. i'm here in case i have answers to questions of the other people start out the answer to. and she came back probably about 30 seconds later and said the president wants you to beating. i proceeded into the oval office. i took probably two, three steps in and i stopped, because i was, as the ag set, not exactly properly attired i was wearing jeans and muddy boots and an army t-shirt. and i never would arrive in the oval office this way and i said mister president i apologize i'm, sorry i didn't know i was going to be handy. said no, no, no, just coming. so i went in. i attempted to take a seat on one of the couches behind the chairs more right in front of the president's desk and he said, oh, no, no, no. you are going to be up here. and everyone kind of left. and they moved the chairs a little bit and some were from the white house counsel's
office picked up a spare chair and put it directly in front of the president, and i took that seat. >> was there a discussion about mr. clark? kind of enlightened some of what that discussion was? >> yes. so the conversation at this point had moved beyond the specific allegation of where they're there with state farm arena or antrim county or pennsylvania or whatever. we had discussed those repeatedly. and the congress, that was back drop to the conversation. but the conversation at this point was really about whether the president should remove jefferson and replaced him with jeff court. and everyone in the room, i think, understood that that meant that letter would go out. so, that was the focus. it was about a two and a half hour meeting after i entered, and so there were discussions about the pros and cons of doing that. early on, the president said, what do i have to lose? and it was actually a good opening because i said, mister,
president you have a great deal to lose. and i began to explain to him what he had to lose. and what the country had literally, what the department had to lose. and this was not in anyone's best interest. that conversation went on for sometime. everyone, essentially, champion with their own thoughts, all of which were consistent about how damaging this would be to the country, to the department, to the administration, to him personally. and at some point the conversation turned to whether jeff clark was even qualified, competent to run the justice department, which in my mind he clearly was not. and it was a heated conversation. i thought it was useful to point out to the president that jeffrey clark simply didn't have the skills, the ability and the experience to run the department. and so i said, mister president, you're talking about putting a man in that seat who has never tried a criminal case, who has never contracted a criminal investigation. he is telling you that he is going to take charge of the
department, 150,000 employees, including the entire fbi, and turned the police on a dime and conduct nationwide criminal investigations that will produce results in a matter of days. it's impossible, it's absurd, it's not going to happen, and it's going to fail. he has never been in front of a trial jury or grand jury. he's never even been to chris wray's office. i said at one point, if you walk into chris wray's office, one, would you know how to get there? and to, if you got it, would he even know who you are? do you really think that the fbi is going to suddenly start following your orders? it's not going to happen. he's not competent. and that's the point at which mr. clark tried to defensive itself by saying, well, i've been involved in very significant civil and environmental there to geisha, i've argued many appeals in a public courts and things of that nature. and then i pointed out that, yes, he was an environmental lawyer and i didn't think that
was an appropriate background to be running the united states justice department. >> to do anybody in that support mr. clark? >> no one. >> mr. rosen, it was you that he was going to replace, what was your view about the presidents plan to appoint mr. clark? >> as i alluded to earlier, the issue is not about me, it would've been fine, as i said, to have richard donoghue replace me, i have 17 days vacation. the issue was that the use of the justice department, and it is so important that the justice department adheres to the facts and the law. that's what it's there to do. that is what's our constitutional role was, and so if the justice department gets out of the role that it is supposed to play, that is really bad for our country, and
i don't know a simpler way to say that, when you damage our fundamental institutions, it's not easy to repair them. i thought this was a really important issue to try and make sure that the justice department was able to stay on the right course. >> did you eventually tell the president that mass rags and nations wouldn't -- and what the consequences would be? >> this was in line with the president saying what do i have to lose? he said, suppose i do this, suppose i replace him, and replace him with him. what would you do? president, i would resign immediately, i'm not working for a minute with this guy. i just declared he was completely incompetent. the president immediately turned to mr. engel, and said steve, you wouldn't resign, would you? he said absolutely, you leave
me no choice. we're not the only, once nobody cares if we resign, it's fine, it doesn't matter. i'll tell you what happens, you're going to lose your entire department leadership. your entire department leadership will walk out within hours. i don't know it happens after that, i don't know at the united states attorneys are going to do, we have u.s. attorneys and districts across the country, and my guess would be that many of them would have resigned. that would then have led to resignations across the department in washington, and i said mister president,, within 24, 78, hours you're going to have hundreds of resignations of the entire justice department, because of your actions. what is that going to say about you? >> mr. engel, what was your reaction to that? >> when the president, to my recollection, when he turned to
me and said steve, you would, leave would you, i said that president, i have been with you through for acting attorney generals, but i could not be part of this. the other thing that i said was that, look, all anyone's going to think about when they see this, nobody is going to read this letter, all anyone's going to think is that you went through to attorney generals in two weeks, until you found the environmental guy, designed this thing. the story is not going to be that the department of justice has found massive corruption that would've changed the result of the election, it's going to be the disaster of jeffrey clark, and i think at that point, cipollone said this is a murder suicide pact. >> i would note, congressman, that it was in this part of the conversation, when steve pointed at the jeff clark would be left leading a graveyard, and that that comment clearly
had an impact on the president, the leadership would be gone, jeff clarke could be leaving a graveyard. >> mr. clark could come in and take out the department of justice, and do something different, was an absurd premise, and all he was doing, mister clerk, but putting himself forward, was blowing himself up, in the presidents work would've gone that course, it would've been a grievous air for the president as well. >> told the committee, the response had a noticeable impact on the president, this was a turning point in the conversation. mr. donoghue, toward the end of this meeting, did the president ask you what was happening to mr. clark? >> he did, when we got to the last 15 minutes of the meeting, the president's decision was apparent, he announced it, jeff clark tried to scrape his way back, and as the president
reconsidered, the president doubled down and said no, i have made my decision, we're not going to do it. >> he then turned to me, and said, so what happens to him now? meaning mr. clark, he said that he reported to me. i did not initially understand the question, and i said mister president, he said, are you going to fire him? i said that i don't have the authority to fire him, he is a senate confirmed assistant attorney general. he said, who has the authority to fire him, i said only you. he said, i'm not going to fire him. i said we should get back to work. >> did you get a call from the president later that night? >> i did, probably 90 minutes later. >> but was that about? >> at this point, we left the white house, reconvened at the department, i left the department, as back in my apartment, myself phone rang, it is the president, and he had information about a truck,
supposedly full of shredded ballots in georgia. that was in the custody of an ice agent, whose name he had. i said that i.c.e. was part of the department of homeland security, i had heard about this, if homeland security had our assistance, we had provided, but it was up to dhs to make a call if their agent was involved. he said fine, i understand, can you make sure that me and ken cuccinelli, knew about this. i would pass that on to him, i eventually contacted him later that evening, and i said this is what the president told me. if you guys have anything, bring it to our attention, let me know. he said thank, you that was it. >> mr. cipollone left the meeting, and convinced the president to not appoint mr. clark, but he did not think the president had accepted the truth about the election. sure enough, all of the same
debunked theories appeared in a speech at the ellipse three days later. >> in the state of arizona, over 36,000 ballots were illegally cast by non citizens. 11, 000, 600 more ballots and votes were counted. more than there were actual voters, do you see that? in wisconsin, corrupt democrat run cities deployed more than 500 illegal unmanned, unsecured drop boxes, which collected a minimum of 91,000 on lawful boats. >> mr. donahue, mr. rosen, mr. angle, and others, stop president trump's efforts. if the republican allies pushed throughout december, made its way to the voters anyway. they gave up the pressure campaign in a way to storm the capitol on january 6th. mr. rosen, were you at the
department of justice on january 6th? >> yes, i was there all day. >> when the capital was under attack, i understand you communicated with fellow cabinet members and leadership, can you tell us who you spoke to? >> yes, i was basically on the phone all day, some calls with our own doj folks, so with cabinet counterparts in defense of the interior, senior white house officials, and with a number of congressional leaders. i received calls from speaker pelosi, from leader mccarthy, from leader schumer, leader mcconnell's, chief of staff called, a number of other members of congress as well. the basic thrust of the calls with the members of congress was, there is a dire situation here, can you help? >> i reported to them, we wear, and a very urgent basis.
sending help from the department. we wowed up -- fbi, atf, and u.s. marshals to assist with restoring order in the capital. we had a number of calls, it was the same, more or less, nonstop all afternoon. >> did you speak to the vice president that day? >> twice. the first call was a one-on-one stunt discussion, somewhat akin to the congressional leadership calls, updating him on what we are doing to assist. the second call was a conference call around 7:00, with the president, congressional leaders, senior white house staff, other cabinet officials to address the order that appeared to be close to being restored, but or that security will still be determined. what time could be congress reassemble?
the answer was 8:00, and thankfully congress did reassemble, and complete escaped constitutional duty. there is one highlight of the second call with vice president, which is mr. donahue, who had gone to the rotunda of the capital, to give a firsthand of the accounts. he was able to tell folks on the call, including the vice president, that he thought 8:00 would work. >> did you speak to the president on january 6th? >> no, i spoke to number of senior white house officials, but not the president. >> mr. donahue, on january 6th, we know from mr. rosen, that you helped in the effort to reconvene the joint session, is that correct? >> yes, sir. >> we see here in a video that we are going to play, you arriving with your security detail. to help secure the capital. 30 minutes after you arrived in the capital, did you lead a
briefing for the vice president? >> i'm not exactly sure what the timeframe was, but i did participate in the call, and participate in briefing the congressional leadership that night. >> where did you conduct a call? >> i was in office, i'm not entirely sure, my detail found it, the acute sticks in the rotunda was not conducive to the call. i participated into phone calls, one at 1800, and 1900 that night from the office. >> what time did you leave the capitol? >> i waited until the senate was back in session, which i believe they were gaveled in a few minutes after 8 pm. once they were back in session, and we were confident that the entire facility was secured and cleared, that there were no individuals hiding in closets or desks, that there were no ieds, or other suspicious
devices left behind. i left minutes later, has probably gone by 8:30. >> did you ever hear from president trump that day? >> no, like the ag, i spoke to pat cipollone, and mark meadows, the vice president, in the congressional leadership, but i never spoke to the president that day. >> can you showcase the evidence of the americans before us to stand up for the democracy? mr. rosen, mr. donahue, they're committed to the oath that they take in the department of justice. on january 6th itself, they assisted the attack while our commander-in-chief stayed silent. the bravery is a high moment in the sordid story of what led to january 6th. my colleagues and i appeared to also take an oath, some of them failed to uphold theirs, instead chose to spread the big lie. days after the tragic events of
january 6th, some of these same republican members requested pardons in the waning days of the trump administration. five days after the attack on the capital, representative moe brooks sent the email on the screen now. as you see, he emailed the white house, quote, pursuant to a request from matt gates, requesting a pardon for representative gates himself, and unnamed others. witnesses told the select committee that he offered pardons to a wide range of individuals connected to the president. let's listen to some of that testimony. >> was president -- >> i believe so. >> the general tone, was that we could get prosecuted because we were in the defense of the president's positions on these
things. the pardon that he was discussing, requesting, has as broad as you can describe, from the beginning of time up until today. for any and all things. he mentioned nixon, and i said nixon's pardon was never nearly that broad. >> are you aware of any issues of democracy pardons? >> mr. brooks, i know both advocated for their blanket pardon, and a handful of other members that were not at the december 21st meeting. as the preemptive pardons. mr. gates was personally pushing for a pardon, and he was doing so since early december, i'm not sure why, he reached out to me to ask if we had a meeting with mr. meadows
about receiving a presidential pardon. several of them did, -- >> so you mentioned, mr. gates, mr. brooks? >> mr. biggs did, mr. jordan talked about congressional pardons but he never asked me for one. it is more for an update on whether the white house was going to party members of congress. mr. gohmert asked for one as well. mr. perry also asked for a pardon. >> mr. perry, did he ask you directly? >> yes he did. >> did marjorie taylor greene contact yellow and? >> no, i heard that she asked white house counsel office for a pardon from mr. philbin, but i did not frequently communicate with mrs. greene. >> are you aware of any conversations or communications about the possibility of giving
congressman matt gates a pardon? >> i know he had asked for it, but i'm not sure if he ever received one, or what happened with it. >> how do you know that he asked for a pardon? >> he told me. >> tell us about that. >> you told me he asked meadows for a pardon. >> the involved in or did you witness any conversations about the possibility of a blanket pardon for everyone involved in january 6th? >> i heard that mentioned, yes. >> do you know whether the president had any conversations about potentially pardoning any family members? >> i know he had hinted at a blanket pardon for the january 6th and then for anybody, but i think he had for all of the staff and everyone involved. not with january 6th, but just before he left office, i know he had talked about that. >> the only reason that i know
to ask for a pardon, is because you think you have committed a crime. thank you, mister chairman, i yield back. >> i wanted to thank our witnesses for joining us today, the members of the select committee may have additional questions for today's witnesses, and we ask that you respond expeditiously, in writing to these questions. without objection, members will be permitted ten business days to submit statements for the record including opening remarks, and additional questions for the witnesses. without objection, the chair recognizes the gentleman from illinois, for a closing statement. >> thank, you mister chairman, the justice department lawyers are not the presidents personal lawyers. we count on them to be on the side of the law, and to defend the best interests of the united states, not the best interest of any political
campaign. that has been since the department was founded, and since the civil war. justice department lawyers are supposed to play it 100% straight. president trump tried to erase his loss at the ballot box by parachuting an unqualified man into the top job of justice. it was a power play to win at all costs, with no regard for the will of the american people. it was about ignoring millions of votes, ignore them, throw them out, labeled them fraudulent, corrupt, illegal, whatever, facts were clearly just an inconvenience. from the oval office, president trump urged others to bring his big lie to life. he begged, just say that the election was corrupt, and leave the rest to me and the republican congressman. he did not care with the departments investigation proved, what's good were facts when they would only confirm his loss? it is no surprise that all of the far out, fully fabricated
whack job conspiracy theories collapsed under even the slightest true scrutiny. that insanity went from the internet to the highest levels of government in no time. the bottom line, the most senior leadership of the justice department from attorney general bill barr, jeff rosen, his successor and his deputy richard donoghue, everybody accept -- the conspiracy theories were false. the allegation of a stolen election was a lie. the data left no room for doubt, nothing to question. the constitution left no room for president trump to change the outcome of the election. we are here today because the facts were irrelevant to president trump, it was about protecting his very real power, and very fragile ego. even if it required recklessly undermining our entire electoral system.
by wildly casting baseless doubt upon it. in short, he was able to sacrifice our republic to prolong his presidency. i can imagine no more dishonourable act by a president. we owe a great debt of gratitude from these men that you have heard from today. real leaders, who stood for justice, when it was in grave peril. they put their country first, when the leader of the free world demanded otherwise. they threatened to resign, rather than corrupt our democracy, and thanks largely to each of them, president trump's coup failed. contrast that to jeff clark, who do exactly where the president wanted, say there was massive fraud, forget the facts, and leave the rest to his congressional friends. mr. clark refused to cooperate with this committee, he pled the fifth over 120 times. why risk self incrimination?
president trump's congressional friends, some of them are angling for pardons? they knew that every bit of what they did was a lie and it was wrong. that is all the more reason to respect us that came here to testify today. we thanked them for their unflinching service in the face of incredible pressure. as we said, the only thing necessary to be able to concede is good men who do nothing, thankfully, there were good people in the justice department. you heard it from other good people as well, unseeded a, they too defended us. i am still unchanged, the oath that we take has to mean something. it has to cut to the core, of who we are, and be the driving force of our service to this nation.
we, on this committee, we may be able to shine light on the darkness, that is not enough. it is now up to every american, now and in the future, to stand for truth. to reject the law is, wherever we confront them in our towns, in our capitals, and our friendships, and our families. and at the ballot box. and within our own minds and hearts. thank, you mister chairman. i yield back. >> without objection, the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from wyoming, miss cheney, for closing statement. >> thank you very much, mister chairman, i again want to thank the witnesses for being here today. after today, i expect that there will be some who label you agents of the deep state, or something else conspiratorial or nonsensical. meant to justify knowing what you said today, and ignoring the facts. maybe, the short term cost of acting honorably and telling
the truth. your actions should have importance and a long term impact. it will help us keep on the course set by the framers of our constitution. let me paraphrase the words of john adams and others. whether ours should continue to be a government of laws, and not of men, is ultimately for the american people to decide. let me also make a broader statement to millions of americans, who put their trust in donald trump. in these hearings so far, you have heard from more than a dozen republicans, who have told you what's actually happened in the weeks before january 6th. you will hear from more in the hearings to come. several of them served donald trump and his administration, others in his campaign. others have been conservative republicans for their entire careers. it can be difficult to accept that president trump abused your trust.
that he deceive you. many will invent excuses to ignore that fact. that is a fact. i wish it wasn't true, but it is. thank, you mister chairman, i yield back. >> again, i thank our witnesses, and thank my colleagues for this hearing. as we conclude our fifth hearing in this series, i want to remind the american people of a few things that the committee has shown. donald trump lost the 2020 election. top republican officials who supported trump knew that he lost, and told him that he lost. trump knew he lost. those who say that the election was affected by widespread voter fraud are lying. they were lying in 2020, they were lying in 2021, and indeed, they are lying today.
donald trump went to court, that is the right that any candidate seeking the outcome of an election must do. donald trump lost in court. dozens and dozens of times. he lost in part because there was no evidence that voter fraud had any impact on the results of the election. to borrow a phrase from our witness earlier this week, mr. bowers, all he had was theories, and no evidence. as i've said, if you are running for office in the united states, that is the end of the line. you accept accords judgment, you can see the race, you respect the rule of law, and the will of the voters. but for donald trump, that was not the end of the line. not even close. the voters refused to keep him in office, the courts refused
to keep him in office. but he continued to lie. he went in search of anybody that would go along with his scheme. we have shown today, he pressured the justice department to act as an arm of his reelection campaign. he hoped that law enforcement officials would give the appearance of legitimacy to his lies, so that he and his allies would have some veneer of credibility when he told the country that the election was stolen earlier this week, we showed how donald trump brought the weight of the presidency down on local and state officials who were trying to do their jobs and ultimately did, they investigated his claims and found them to be false. they then endured trump's pressure campaign, at great risk to themselves, and their
loved ones. of course, there was this scheme to get the former vice president mike pence to violate the law and the constitution, by ejecting the electoral college votes on january 6th, and blocking peaceful transfer of power. i mentioned the former vice president last, because as we showed, when he refused to bow to the president, the pressure in those critical moments on january 6th, that was a backup plan for stopping the transfer of power. the mob, and they're violent threats. up to this point, we have shown the inner workings of what was essentially a political coup. an attempt to use the powers of the government, from the local level, all the way up, to overturn the results of the election. find me the votes, send fake
electors. just say that the election was corrupt, and along the way, we saw threats of violence, we saw some people were willing to do. in a service of the nation, the constitution, no, in service of donald trump. when this select committee continues this series of hearings, we are going to show how donald trump tapped into the threat of violence, how he summoned the mob to washington, and how after corruption and political pressure failed, to keep donald trump in office, violence became the last option. i investigation is ongoing, these hearings have spurred an influx of new information that the committee and i are investigating, to work to assess. we are committed to presenting
the american people with the most complete information possible. that will be our aim when we reconvene in the coming weeks. the chair has a request for those in the hearing room remained seating until the capitol police have extorted members from the room. without objection, the committee stands adjourned.
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