House

Trump DOJ officials to testify before Jan. 6 panel

Three former Justice Department leaders at the center of former President Trump’s pressure campaign to put the might of the department behind his baseless claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election will appear before the House Jan. 6 select committee on Wednesday.

Former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen will testify before the committee alongside his deputy Richard Donoghue and Steven Engle, then the head of the Office of Legal Counsel, according to a letter first obtained by The New York Times.

The committee previewed that Justice Department officials would be front and center in its Wednesday review of Trump’s attempt to topple his own leadership and install a mid-level attorney who would forward his claims of election fraud.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) recounted how Trump told the officials, “Just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen.”  

The Justice Department officials’ horror at the plans to replace them has been widely documented, including in a Senate report issued last year. 

But the hearing will be the first time each has spoken publicly about what transpired in an hours-long White House meeting in which they successfully convinced Trump not to appoint a new attorney general who would favor his investigations.

“What you are proposing is nothing less than the United States Justice Department meddling in the outcome of a presidential election,” Donoghue told Trump, according to committee testimony.

Prior court records have also shown Donoghue trying to impart on Trump just how large the fallout at the Justice Department would be. 

“Mr. President, these aren’t bureaucratic leftovers from another administration. You picked them. This is your leadership team. You sent every one of them to the Senate; you got them confirmed. What is that going to say about you, when we all walk out at the same time? … And what happens if, within 48 hours, we have hundreds of resignations from your Justice Department because of your actions? What does that say about your leadership?” Donoghue said.

Tags Jan. 6 hearings Jan. 6 select committee Jeffrey Rosen Jeffrey Rosen Justice Department Liz Cheney Liz Cheney Richard Donoghue Trump officials
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