A top ethics watchdog is calling on the Justice Department (DOJ) to open an investigation into former President TrumpDonald TrumpCapitol fencing starts coming down after 'Justice for J6' rally Netanyahu suggests Biden fell asleep in meeting with Israeli PM Aides try to keep Biden away from unscripted events or long interviews, book claims MORE and his one-time chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsAllies see rising prospect of Trump 2024 White House bid The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - US prepares vaccine booster plan House panel probing Jan. 6 attack seeks Trump records MORE, saying the two tried to “weaponize” the department as part of a larger campaign to overturn the 2020 election results.
The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick GarlandMerrick GarlandGrassley calls for federal prosecutor to probe botched FBI Nassar investigation Durham seeking indictment of lawyer with ties to Democrats: reports Woman allegedly abused by Nassar after he was reported to FBI: 'I should not be here' MORE and FBI Director Christopher Wray on Thursday requesting a probe that looks into whether Trump and Meadows tried to pressure the Justice Department into reversing the electoral vote.
“We request that you investigate whether former President Trump and former White House Chief of Staff Meadows violated multiple criminal laws by engaging in a pressure campaign to coerce Justice Department officials to misuse the powers of their office to try to swing the election in Trump’s favor,” CREW President Noah Bookbinder wrote in the letter.
The group is alleging that Trump and Meadows violated criminal law and provisions of the Hatch Act, citing newly released emails and news reports that “appear to demonstrate that President Trump and Mr. Meadows illegally pressured senior DOJ officials to pursue politically motivated, frivolous election fraud investigations and file a baseless legal complaint in the United States Supreme Court as part of a conspiracy to deprive American citizens of their right to vote and have their votes counted.”
The letter from Bookbinder cites an email sent by Trump’s assistant to Jeffrey Rosen, who later became acting attorney general, that included claims of voting irregularities in a Michigan county, and calls from Trump’s team for the Justice Department to file a lawsuit with the Supreme Court to overturn the election.
The letter also referenced an email where Meadows asked the DOJ to look into "allegations of wrongdoing" in Georgia.
On the Hatch Act, Bookbinder said Trump and Meadows illegally pressured and attempted to coerce top DOJ officials to “advance a partisan political agenda while abusing the official authority of their high offices to affect the outcome of a federal election.”
Bookbinder also mentioned the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, contending that the supposed illegal acts committed by Trump and Meadows “were part of a broader conspiracy and pattern of conduct aimed at undermining the democratic process that culminated in the seditious attack on the United States Capitol.”
The Hill has reached out to Trump and Meadows for comment.
The House Oversight and Reform Committee released a trove of new documents last month that detailed efforts by Trump and his allies to pressure the DOJ to support his unproven claims of election fraud.
The committee is conducting an investigation into those efforts, as well as events that led to the Jan. 6 attack.