Durbin calls what was happening at DOJ under Trump 'frightening'

Senate Majority Whip Dick DurbinDick DurbinDemocrats face critical 72 hours Bipartisan lawmakers target judges' stock trading with new bill Manchin: Negotiators to miss Friday target for deal on reconciliation bill MORE (D-Ill.) on Sunday said what was going on at the Department of Justice (DOJ) under former President TrumpDonald TrumpYoungkin ad features mother who pushed to have 'Beloved' banned from son's curriculum White House rejects latest Trump claim of executive privilege Democrats say GOP lawmakers implicated in Jan. 6 should be expelled MORE was “frightening” after listening to hours of testimony from the former administration’s acting attorney general as the panel investigates election interference.

“It really is important that we ask these questions because what was going on in the Department of Justice was frightening from a constitutional point of view,” Durbin told host Dana BashDana BashThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Altria - White House tackles how to vaccinate children ages 5+ Manchin lays down demands for child tax credit: report Cassidy says he won't vote for Trump if he runs in 2024 MORE on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Former Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Durbin, for seven hours on Saturday as part of the panel’s investigation into efforts by Trump allies to interfere in the 2020 election results.

He also spoke with the Justice Department’s office of the inspector general for two hours on Friday, according to The New York Times.

Durbin said Rosen, who agreed to speak to the committee voluntarily, “told us a lot.”

Rosen told the inspector general's office about five encounters with Jeffrey Clark, who served as acting head of the DOJ's civil division under Trump. During one encounter, Clark admitted to meeting Trump and promised to not do so again, the Times reported.

He said the former official was “very open,” adding, “There’s a lot there, an awful lot there. You can imagine seven hours of testimony.”

Dubin, when asked by Bash what the most shocking part of Rosen’s testimony was, pointed to Trump’s direct involvement in the campaign to pressure officials to overturn the election results.

“Just how directly personally involved the president was, the pressure he was putting on Jeffrey Rosen. It was real, very real, and it was very specific,” Durbin said.

“The former president is not subtle when he wants something, and I think it's a good thing for America that we had a person like Rosen in that position who stood, withstood the pressure,” Durbin said.

"To think that [former Attorney General ]Bill Barr left, resigned after he had announced he didn't see irregularities in the election, and then his replacement was under extraordinary pressure from the president of the United States, even to the point where they were talking about replacing him. ... That pressure was on," Durbin said at a separate point in the interview.

Durbin, when pressed by Bash, refused to offer additional details on the specific pressure Trump placed on Rosen.

He did, however, reveal that Trump asked his then-acting attorney general “to do certain things related to states' election returns,” which he refused to do.

Durbin concluded that “history is going to be very kind to Mr. Rosen when it’s all over” after listening to his testimony.

“And I — when he was initially appointed, I didn't think that was the case. I was wrong,” Durbin added.