In the last weeks of his administration, former U.S. President Donald Trump and his aides pressured the Justice Department to investigate his unfounded voting fraud complaints and upend his election loss, newly released documents Tuesday show.
Nearly five months after leaving office, Trump still contends he was cheated out of another four-year term in the White House by voting irregularities. According to the House of Representatives Oversight and Reform Committee, before he left office, Trump, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, and a private attorney, Kurt Olsen, all sought to enlist the Justice Department to pursue election irregularities that had already been rejected in dozens of court claims.
However, the agency, which was being run by Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen in the last weeks of Trump’s presidency, rejected the Trump-led demands.
"These documents show that President Trump tried to corrupt our nation's chief law enforcement agency in a brazen attempt to overturn an election that he lost," said Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, a New York Democrat.
Trump made the demands even after outgoing Attorney General William Barr had already concluded by December 1 that “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.” Barr left office December 23 and was replaced by Rosen, who had been deputy attorney general.
The documents released by the committee show that Trump, through an assistant, sent Rosen an email on December 14 with documents contending there was election fraud in northern Michigan — a debunked allegation that a federal judge had already rejected.
Two weeks later, Trump also unsuccessfully sought to get Justice Department lawyers to file a draft legal brief written by Olsen with the U.S. Supreme Court contending that voting law changes made by the states of Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, Nevada and Pennsylvania to expand mail-in voting during the COVID-19 pandemic were illegal.
The new documents showing Trump pressing his election fraud claims occurred about the same time Meadows, the White House chief of staff, was asking Rosen to examine other baseless conspiracy theories about the election.
Among them, according to The New York Times, was one that claimed people linked to an Italian defense contractor used satellite technology based in Europe to tamper with U.S. voting equipment from Europe to switch votes from Trump to Joe Biden, who won the election and was inaugurated January 20.