Chuck Schumer called on Saturday for a probe into the report that Donald Trump allegedly planned to fire his attorney general and replace him with someone who would work to overturn the presidential election results in Georgia.
‘Unconscionable a Trump Justice Department leader would conspire to subvert the people’s will,’ he tweeted Saturday afternoon.
‘The Justice Dept Inspector General must launch an investigation into this attempted sedition now,’ he continued. ‘And the Senate will move forward with Trump’s impeachment trial.’
Now the Senate majority leader, Schumer announced that an impeachment trial against the former president will commence February 9 in the upper chamber before a vote is held on whether to convict Trump.
A New York Times bombshell report on Friday revealed that Trump plotted to replace then-acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen with Justice Department lawyer, and ultra-loyalist, Jeffrey Clark.
Rosen, who took over after Bill Barr resigned at the end of December, repeatedly rebuffed Trump’s insistence that action be taken to overturn the election results in Georgia – where Joe Biden won by a tiny margin.
On the other hand, Clark was on board with the plan to get the results in the southern swing state flipped.
Chuck Schumer demanded the Justice Department open an investigation into Donald Trump’s alleged plot to replace his Attorney General with someone who wanted to overturn the election results in Georgia in his final month in office
The Senate majority leader called the plot an ‘attempted sedition’ to ‘subvert the people’s will’ to elect Joe Biden to the White House
Several insiders told the Times that the scheme came to a screeching halt when DOJ officials said they would all resign if Rosen was ousted before Trump’s term ended.
Trump, during his final month in office, pushed Rosen to appoint special counsels, including one who would look into Dominion Voting Systems – an election machinery company.
Following the November 3 election, Trump and his supporters accused Dominion of switching votes cast for Trump to register as votes cast for Biden.
Trump was already working with Clark to try to overturn the Georgia vote, which went 49.5 per cent for Biden and 49.3 per cent from Trump – only a 0.2 per cent margin.
Overturning Georgia’s 16 Electoral College votes would not make Trump the automatic victor of the 2020 presidential election. But his legal team felt if just one state’s results were brought into question and successfully overturned, it could create a domino effect where other states’ results, which cost Trump the election, could come into question, too.
The former president went as far as staging an ‘Apprentice-style’ interview with Clark and Rosen, with both men arguing to have the job, according to the Times report.
Clark, who resigned from the DOJ Jan. 14, is now ‘radioactive’ to future potential employers, Bloomberg reported, as law firms become increasingly aware of the hits they would take to their reputation in hiring the form Trump administration official.
a New York Times report revealed that Trump considered Jeffrey Clark, a Justice Department attorney, to replace then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen
Jeffrey Rosen became acting Attorney General when Bill Barr stepped down before Christmas – but he was not on board with Trump’s demand to overturn the election results in Georgia
When word reached other Justice Department officials of the plan to replace Rosen with Clark, and throw the presidential election into turmoil, they all agreed to resign en masse.
Steven Engel, the head of the Justice Department’s office of legal counsel, held a January 3 phone call with the shocked senior officials, and told them of Clark’s plan.
Trump, concerned at the fallout from the mass resignation, then backed down, after a three hour meeting.
Clark was nominated by Trump to be the Assistant Attorney General of the Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD), and sworn into office on November 1, 2018.
In September he also asked Clark to be the Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division.
Clark, who graduated from the Biden School of Public Policy and Administration at the University of Delaware in 1993), followed by the Georgetown University Law Center, told the paper that he had in no way acted improperly.
‘Senior Justice Department lawyers, not uncommonly, provide legal advice to the White House as part of our duties.
‘All my official communications were consistent with law.’
Trump declined to comment.
Clark told Rosen on January 3 that he was taking his job, but Rosen could be his deputy
An adviser told the paper that Trump has consistently argued that the justice system should investigate ‘rampant election fraud that has plagued our system for years.’
The adviser added that ‘any assertion to the contrary is false and being driven by those who wish to keep the system broken.’
A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment, as did Rosen.
Rosen was serving as the deputy Attorney General when Barr announced his resignation, on December 14, giving a week’s notice.
Trump, according to the paper, summoned Rosen in to his office on December 15 to demand the Justice Department file legal briefs supporting his allies’ lawsuits seeking to overturn his election loss.
Rosen refused, and reiterated what Barr had privately told Trump – that they had investigated voting irregularities, and found no evidence of widespread fraud.
Trump continued to push Rosen, with phone calls and in person demands.
Rosen and his deputy, Richard P. Donoghue, were unaware that Clark had been introduced to Trump by a Pennsylvania politician and had told the president that he agreed that fraud had affected the election results.
Clark was swiftly embraced by Trump.
Ted Lieu, who drafted the impeachment articles, was outraged at the report
Preet Bharara, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York – who was forced out by Trump – said that the report was just the beginning of a ‘torrent’ of damning information
He alarmed Rosen and Donoghue by mentioning that he spent a lot of time reading on the internet: they inferred that he was getting sucked into the conspiracy theory that Trump had won the election.
Clark also told them that he wanted the department to hold a news conference announcing that it was investigating serious accusations of election fraud, but Rosen and Donoghue rejected the idea.
Clark drafted a letter that he wanted Rosen to send to Georgia state legislators that wrongly said that the Justice Department was investigating accusations of voter fraud in their state. The letter said they should overrule the November 3 election. Rosen and Donoghue again blocked Clark.
On New Year’s Eve, the three men met to discuss their disagreements, and Donoghue told Clark that what he was doing was wrong.
On New Year’s Day Clark told Rosen, who had mentored him while they worked together at the law firm Kirkland & Ellis, that he was going to discuss his strategy with the president early the next week.
On January 3, at midday, Clark told Rosen he had met with Trump, and that Trump was planning to announce he was replacing Rosen with Clark.
Clark could then try to stop Congress from certifying the Electoral College results.
Clark told Rosen he could stay on as his deputy attorney general.
The two men met with the president and other legal officials on the evening of January 3, and Trump ultimately decided not to replace Rosen with Clark.
Trump complained to Justice Department leaders that the U.S. attorney in Atlanta, Byung J. Pak, was not trying to find evidence for the election fraud claims promoted by Rudy Giuliani and others.
Pak resigned on January 4, and a watchdog is now investigating the circumstances of his resignation, The Washington Post reported.
Preet Bharara, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York – who was forced out by Trump – said that the report was just the beginning of a ‘torrent’ of damning information.
Ted Lieu, who wrote the impeachment articles against Trump, said it showed why impeachment was so important: to show that a president cannot get away with such misconduct.