‘Just say the election was corrupt, and leave the rest to me’: What Donald Trump told DOJ official


Former President Donald Trump told top Justice Department officials to ‘say the election is corrupt’ as his election overturn efforts were reaching a crescendo in December 2020, internal government notes reveal.

The hand-written notes, released by a congressional committee, reveal how Trump how Trump told the heads of the top U.S. law enforcement agency they should pursue his claims of fraud and that President Biden had not really won the election – even as they pushed back on his wildest claims and scribbled won his musings and directives.

‘Just say that the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me and the R. Congressmen,’ Trump told then-Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue of a December 27, 2020 phone call that also included Acting AG Jeffrey Rosen. 

‘Just say that the election was corrupt,’ former President Donald Trump told top Justice Department officials, according to notes of a Dec. 27, 2020 converstaion

He was referring to Republican congressional allies in the Capitol who were putting forward his election fraud claims, according to the notes Donoghue took.

‘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,’ said House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York, who is probing Trump’s efforts.

The notes memorialize a phone call between Trump, identified as ‘P,’ and Rosen, identified as ‘DAG.’ He had assumed authority in the last weeks of Trump’s term after Attorney General Bill Barr departed days earlier – after himself saying there was not evidence of widespread election fraud.

Rosen tried to tell the president there were limitations preventing him from giving the president what he wanted. The notes say: ‘understand that the DOJ can’t + won’t snap its fingers + change the outcome of the election, doesn’t work that way.’

'We have an obligation to tell people that this was an illegal, corrupt election,' according to notes on Trump call with DOJ officials

‘We have an obligation to tell people that this was an illegal, corrupt election,’ according to notes on Trump call with DOJ officials

'These people who [are] saying that the election isn't corrupt are corrupt,' according to notes of the president's conversation with top DOJ officials

‘These people who [are] saying that the election isn’t corrupt are corrupt,’ according to notes of the president’s conversation with top DOJ officials

The notes on the Dec. 27, 2020 'DAG call' include Tump's claims of election fraud, reference Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio,

The notes on the Dec. 27, 2020 ‘DAG call’ include Tump’s claims of election fraud, reference Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, 

Acting Deputy AG Richard P. Donoghue took notes on the call

Acting Deputy AG Richard P. Donoghue took notes on the call

The call came days after Acting AG Jeffrey Rosen took over leadership of the agency

The call came days after Acting AG Jeffrey Rosen took over leadership of the agency

It came days before the 'Stop the Steal' rally and the Capitol riot

It came days before the ‘Stop the Steal’ rally and the Capitol riot

That prompted Trump to say ‘Don’t expect you to do that,’ and to just ‘say’ the election was corrupt. 

Near the bottom of the nine-page notes, in quotation marks, is another line from Trump: ‘We have an obligation to tell people that this was an illegal, corrupt election.’

Such a statement by the Justice Department might have provided fuel for various state audit and recount efforts being pushed by Trump and his allies, amid a flurry of litigation an Kraken lawsuits that were being tossed out of court.

It also would have bolstered Republican congressional allies, many of whom would ultimately vote not to certify electoral votes from states that certified their votes for Biden over Trump in states where Trump was claiming fraud.

The notes reveal that Trump rehashed many of the comments he and allies were making publicly, claiming fraud in Georgia, Arizona, and other states where Trump continues to make his claim. 

Trump also appeared to threaten a leadership shakeup in his final days in office, suggesting he might put in the acting head of DOJ’s civil division. 

‘People tell me Jeff Clark is great, I should put him in. People want me to replace DOJ leadership,’ Trump said. 

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who Speaker Nancy Pelosi bumped off a select committee probing the Jan. 6th attacks, is also mentioned on the call. Trump calls him a ‘fighter.’

Trump, who along with his allies put forward a string of claims about dead people voting and machines ‘flipping’ votes as part of his bid to stay in office, encouraged the officials to go online.

‘You guys may not be following the internet the way I do,’ he said. 

DOJ this week told former government officials they can speak to congressional committees probing the Jan. 6th Capitol riot – raising the likelihood that the officials on the call will be called to testify about the conversation with Trump. 

The officials also memorialized their own efforts to pushback at Trump, at a time of chaotic maneuverings inside the agency.

‘Told him flat out that much of the info he is getting is false, +/or just not supported by the evidence – we look at allegations but they do not pan out,’ the notes said.

Another line shows Trump urging an investigation of the president’s son, Hunter. Trump’s recorded request with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky seeking a probe of the Bidens were critical to the first unsuccessful impeachment effort in Congress. 

It came following revelations Trump allies said came from Hunter Biden’s laptop.   

‘You figure out what to do w/ H. Biden—people will criticize the DOJ if he’s not investigated for real,’ Trump said according to the notes.

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