Trump pressured Justice Department to declare election ′corrupt′ | News | DW | 30.07.2021

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Trump pressured Justice Department to declare election 'corrupt'

Handwritten notes detail an exchange in which the former US president pushed for election results to be declared corrupt. Justice Department officials at the time said they couldn't "change the outcome of the election."

Former President Donald Trump makes an address earlier this month in New Jersey

Trump is facing renewed scrutiny over his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results

Former US President Donald Trump suffered dual blows on Friday, after officials released handwritten notes of a conversation in which Trump appeared to push for the 2020 election results to be overturned.

In the second challenge facing Trump, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) ordered the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to hand over the former president's tax returns to a House committee. The DOJ said "sufficient reasons" for requesting the material have been offered.

What did the handwritten notes say?

The notes detail a phone call on December 27, 2020 between Jeffrey Rosen and Trump — weeks after his election loss to President Joe Biden.

Rosen would be appointed as acting attorney general a few days after the call took place.

According to the newly-released notes, Rosen told Trump: "Understand that the DOJ can't and won't snap its fingers and change the outcome of the election."

Trump responded: "Don't expect you to do that."

"Just say that the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me and the R. Congressmen," he added, referencing Republican lawmakers in Congress.

According to the notes, Trump threatened to put former assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Clark in charge.

"People tell me Jeff Clark is great, I should put him in. People want me to replace DOJ leadership," he is quoted as saying.

False claims of a stolen election

The notes detail Trump repeatedly making claims that the election had been stolen.

"You guys may not be following the internet the way I do," Trump said.

According to the notes, Rosen and other DOJ officials tried to tell Trump the information he was getting was incorrect. 

"We are doing our job," Rosen replied. "Much of the info you're getting is false."

Just over a week later, thousands of Trump supporters, fired up over claims of a stolen election, stormed the US Capitol in an attempt to halt Congress from certifying Biden's election victory.

Watch video 03:02

Dramatic hearing into storming of US Capitol

The notes from the call were released by the House Committee on Oversight, which is probing Trump's efforts to overturn the election results.

"These handwritten notes show that President Trump directly instructed our nation's top law enforcement agency to take steps to overturn a free and fair election in the final days of his presidency,'' committee chair Carolyn Maloney said in a statement.

Maloney said  interviews with witnesses were being scheduled.

The Justice Department has authorized the interviews of six former Trump administration officials which it says is due to "compelling legislative interests.”

Trump's tax returns under scrutiny

In the second blow dealt to Trump on Friday, the Justice Department said the House Ways and Means Committee has provided sufficient reasons for requesting Trump's tax returns.

The IRS has been instructed to hand over the documents.

The committee had been looking to access six years of tax records.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said, "access to former president Trump's tax returns is a matter of national security," and added, "the American people deserve to know the facts of his troubling conflicts of interest and undermining of our security and democracy as president."

Trump has been battling to keep his financial records from getting into the public eye.

The committee said it needs the documents for a probe into tax law compliance by the president, among other things. It asked the court to order the administration to turn over the documents.

kb/rs (AP, AFP, Reuters)