The Senate Judiciary Committee has released an interim report providing incomplete findings related to January 6th. The Report is entitled "Subverting Justice: How the Former President and His Allies Pressured DOJ To Overturn the 2020 Election." You can read the full report HERE:
The Committee emphasizes that the investigation is not over but that the interim report is being released due to "the gravity of the misconduct the Committee has uncovered to date." In this diary I will summarize the six key findings of the Committee and the four recommendations the Committee presents.
"FINDING 1: President Trump repeatedly asked DOJ leadership to endorse his false claims that the election was stolen and to assist his efforts to overturn the election results." The committee documents nine separate calls and meetings where Trump pressured senior DOJ leaders to make statements falsely claiming the DOJ had found evidence of widespread election fraud when it had not. The Committee finds these actions may have "violated the criminal provisions of the Hatch Act, which prevent any person—including the President—from commanding federal government employees to engage in political activity."
"FINDING 2: White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows asked Acting Attorney General Rosen to initiate election fraud investigations on multiple occasions, violating longstanding restrictions on White House-DOJ communications about specific law enforcement matters." These included even the comically absurd false claims dubbed "ItalyGate" which claimed the CIA used Italian satellites to manipulate voting machines to change Trump votes to Biden.
"FINDING 3: After personally meeting with Trump, Jeffrey Bossert Clark pushed Rosen and Donoghue to assist Trump’s election subversion scheme—and told Rosen he would decline Trump’s potential offer to install him as Acting Attorney General if Rosen agreed to aid that scheme. Clark pushed Rosen and Donoghue to publicly announce that DOJ was investigating election fraud and tell key swing state legislatures they should appoint alternate slates of electors following certification of the popular vote. He did so following personal communications with Trump, including at least one meeting that Clark attended in the Oval Office without the knowledge of DOJ leadership."
"FINDING 4: Trump allies with links to the “Stop the Steal” movement and the January 6 insurrection participated in the pressure campaign against DOJ." These included:
- Representative Scott Perry of Pennsylvania.
- Doug Mastriano a State Senator for Pennsylvania.
- Cleta Mitchell, a Trump Campaign Advisor.
"FINDING 5: Trump forced the resignation of U.S. Attorney Byung Jin (“BJay”) Pak, whom he believed was not doing enough to address false claims of election fraud in Georgia. Trump then went outside the line of succession when naming an Acting U.S. Attorney, bypassing First Assistant U.S. Attorney Kurt Erskine and instead appointing Bobby Christine because he believed Christine would 'do something' about his election fraud claims."
"FINDING 6: By pursuing false claims of election fraud before votes were certified,
DOJ deviated from longstanding practice meant to avoid inserting DOJ itself as an issue in the election." This was done by then Attorney General Barr who directed Attorney Generals to violate this longstanding policy that was designed "to avoid inserting DOJ itself as an issue in the election."
The Committee makes clear that recommendations for criminal referrals remain possible but are not yet being made due to the incomplete nature of the investigation. However the Committee makes clear that what happened was "not merely a policy failure, but also the result of conscious actions by a mix of bad-faith actors seeking to overturn the 2020 general election in favor of their preferred candidate as well as other actors attempting to placate Trump." Further, while the investigation is not yet advanced enough to make criminal referrals, the Committee believes "federal and state bar associations should consider whether additional accountability measures are warranted to discipline these bad actors and deter future attempts to politicize DOJ."
"Recommendation #1: Strengthen DOJ-White House Contacts Policy Through Increased Transparency and Enforcement. As this report makes clear, Jeffrey Clark blatantly violated the DOJ-White House contacts policy on multiple occasions by making unauthorized contact with President Trump . . . Mark Meadows also repeatedly violated the DOJ-White House contacts policy." The Committee recommends that all contacts between DOJ and the White House be logged and subject to IG oversight. The Committee also recommends changes to the United States criminal provisions for obstructing proceedings and witness tampering to clarify that those provisions apply to state proceedings.
"Recommendation #2: Strengthen DOJ’s Longstanding Policy of Election NonInterference." The Committee recommends that an unwritten "60 Day Rule" of the DOJ avoiding commenting in ways that could influence the election be codified in writing.
"Recommendation #3: Further Investigation of Clark’s Conduct by the District of Columbia Bar. Clark’s attempts to enlist DOJ in Trump’s effort to overturn the results of the presidential election without evidence or legal authority to do so clearly undermined the rule of law.” The Committee states that it is submitting a formal complaint to the D.C. Bar Association seeking disciplinary action against Clark's license to practice law. The Committee argues Clark's conduct violates Rule 8.4 of the Attorney Rules for Professional Responsibility which prohibits “conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation,” “conduct that seriously interferes with the administration of justice” and “stating or implying an ability to influence improperly a government agency or official.”
"Recommendation #4: Cooperation with the House Select Committee to Investigate Ties Between This Episode and the January 6 Attack." The Committee notes that Trump's efforts to enlist the DOJ to interfere in the election were assisted by Trump allies with connections the rally on January 6th. Quote: "Three of these allies and their connections to January 6 are particularly notable: U.S. Representative Scott Perry, Pennsylvania State Senator Doug Mastriano, and Trump campaign attorney Cleta Mitchell. These ties warrant further investigation to better place Trump’s efforts to enlist DOJ in his efforts to overturn the presidential election in context with the January 6 insurrection." Accordingly, the Committee is turning this report over to the House Select Committee.