Trump pressed DOJ to go to Supreme Court in bid to overturn election: report

Former President Trump reportedly pressed the Department of Justice (DOJ) to take his bid to overturn the results of the presidential election all the way to the Supreme Court, but the effort hit a dead end after opposition from the agency’s leadership. 

According to The Wall Street Journal, Trump sought to have the DOJ file a suit challenging the outcome of the election before he left office last week, but a number senior officials within the agency refused to bring the case forward. Those officials reportedly included then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, former Attorney General William Barr and former acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall.

The effort was also met with resistance from former White House counsel Pat Cipollone and former White House deputy counsel, the Journal noted.

According to the newspaper, a brief was drawn up at one point by a lawyer working outside the administration for the effort.

“He wanted us, the United States, to sue one or more of the states directly in the Supreme Court,” a former administration official told the Journal. The official added that “the pressure got really intense” after the Supreme Court rejected a bid by Texas in early December that sought to overturn President Biden’s election victory.

The Journal reported that Trump considered ousting Rosen and replacing him with Jeffrey Clark, a DOJ lawyer, after the effort failed.

The report by the Journal came a day after The New York Times also reported that Trump planned to fire Rosen and replace him with Clark in an effort to overturn the election results.

However, both newspapers reported that the effort failed after a number of top officials within the department threatened to resign if Trump went ahead with the plan.

In a statement last week to the Times, which spoke to four unidentified former Trump administration officials for its coverage, Clark pushed back on the report.

“Senior Justice Department lawyers, not uncommonly, provide legal advice to the White House as part of our duties,” he told the paper. “All my official communications were consistent with law.” 

He also pointed to his past role last month as a lead signatory on a DOJ request to have a federal court reject a lawsuit seeking to pressure former Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the outcome of the election as Congress certified the Electoral College vote.

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill at the time.

Tags Donald Trump Mike Pence William Barr
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