Newly-released documents from a congressional oversight committee reveal a White House-led effort to enlist the U.S. Department of Justice officials into litigating baseless conspiracy theories aimed at overturning the results of 2020 election.
At the helm of this failed campaign was then-President Donald Trump’s right-hand man, Mark Meadows, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives from North Carolina and Tea Party Republican who served as the 45th president’s chief of staff.
“There have been allegations of signature match anomalies in Fulton county, Ga,” Meadows wrote in a Jan. 1 email to then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen. “Can you get Jeff Clark to engage on this issue immediately to determine if there is any truth to this allegation.”
Rosen, in a display of annoyance, did not respond.
In an email thread, however, Rosen forwarded the White House ask to then-principal associate deputy attorney general Richard Donoghue to mock Meadows and express his disdain for the overall posture coming from the administration regarding the election results.
“Can you believe this?” Rosen fumed. “I am not going to respond to the message below.”
“At least it’s better than the last one, but that doesn’t say much,” Donoghue quipped in response.
That prior request had to do with a conspiracy theory that was apparently too embarrassing for even Trump to push publicly.
On Dec. 30, 2020, Meadows emailed Rosen a document purporting to contain a translation from an Italian source in the Eternal City who claimed to have “direct knowledge” of a “data switch” plot where U.S. “electoral data” would be changed “in coordination with senior” CIA officials. That data, per the terms of those pushing the narrative, would then be uploaded to “military satellites” for some reason.
“Our associates in the conservative part of the Italian secret services have been working since the beginning of November, 2020, to ensure that the truth is known and that the American people realize the result voted for: the re-election of President Trump,” the one-page document attributed to The Director Carlo Goria concludes.
Perhaps relying on heavily contorted shades of historical truth (the CIA has a long and sordid history in Italy and previously worked with Italian state institutions to subvert various Italian leftist organizations by way of massacres, bombings and paramilitary actions for over 40 years under the auspices of Operation Gladio), the electoral data switching campaign alleged by Meadows’s shadowy and cartoonish source was never substantiated in any way whatsoever.
That didn’t stop Meadows from asking Rosen for help–or enlisting Rudy Giuliani, an Italian-American of some renown, into the snipe hunt.
On Jan. 1, Meadows followed up and emailed Rosen a YouTube link labeled “Brad Johnson: Rome, Satellites, Servers: an Update.”
Rosen forwarded the link to Donoghue with no comment.
“Pure insanity,” Donoghue replied.
To which Rosen complained at length:
Yes. After this message, I was asked to have FBI meet with Brad Johnson, and I responded that Johnson could call or walk into FBI’s Washington Field Office with any evidence he purports to have. On a follow up call, I learned that Johnson is working with Rudy Giuliani, who regarded my comments as “an insult.” Asked if I would reconsider, I flatly refused, said I would not be giving any special treatment to Giuliani or any of his “witnesses”, and re-affirmed yet again that I will not talk to Giuliani about any of this.
The Meadows requests also contained references to debunked conspiracy theories about “video issues in Fulton County” and seven separate–ultimately fabulized–claims about voting irregularities in New Mexico–including a lengthy section alleging various “[a]nomalies” with Dominion Voting machines.
Rosen’s office also got an earful of wild-eyed complaints and suggestions from private attorney Kurt Olsen.
Acting on Trump’s behalf, Olsen pestered the DOJ to take up a litany of Trump’s petty grievances by backing litigation specifically aimed at overturning Joe Biden’s victory at the U.S. Supreme Court. That litigation used the failed lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) as a starting-off point.
“Thank you for calling me on behalf of AG Rosen,” Olsen wrote to Rosen’s deputy John Moran on Dec. 29, 2020. “Attached is a draft complaint to be brought by the United States modeled after the Texas action. As I said on our call, the President of the United States has seen this complaint, and he directed me last night to brief AG Rosen in person today and discuss bringing this action. I have been instructed to report back to the President this afternoon after this meeting.”
Rosen didn’t take the bait.
None of those myriad allegations panned out, but Democrats in Congress have remained adamant about investigating the prior administration’s alleged misuse of the DOJ in order to mine the depths of former president’s various grievances and behind the scenes activities.
“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,” House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) said in a statement. “Those who aided or witnessed President Trump’s unlawful actions must answer the Committee’s questions about this attempted subversion of democracy.”
[image via Win McNamee/Getty Images]
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