WASHINGTON — The Jan. 6 committee plans to take viewers inside the Oval Office Thursday afternoon, when witnesses describe a contentious meeting in which Justice Department leaders threatened to resign if the president at the time, Donald Trump was promoting an appointed politician who was willing to support his false claims of voter fraud.
The commission’s fifth public hearing will focus on the former president’s efforts to leverage the legal force and authority of the department as he attempted to nullify the 2020 election.
In keeping with a message the committee hammered home, the hearing is expected to show how America’s democratic tradition has survived in large part because of the integrity of a few people who stood up to Trump and refused to follow his plan to hold on to power.
Three former top Justice Department officials who pushed back against Trump at the time will testify live: Jeffrey Rosen, the acting attorney general; Richard Donoghue, the acting deputy attorney general; and Steven Engel, who ran the Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.
All three participated in an Oval Office meeting on Jan. 3, 2021 — three days before the attack on the Capitol — in which Trump considered ousting Rosen and replacing him with Jeffrey Clark, an environmental official at the department. Although the department had already concluded that there had been no fraud on a scale that would have influenced the outcome of the election, Clark was prepared “to reverse the finding of the department’s investigation…if named.” , a committee aide told reporters Jan. 6 on a conference call. Wednesday.
Had Trump fired Rosen, Clark would have sent “fraudulent letters urging state legislatures to withdraw” their certifications that Joe Biden had won those states, the aide said.
“We will see that, yet again, President Trump only failed here because the Justice Department leadership team stood up and threatened to resign rather than help the President reverse the process. democratic,” the aide said.
Trump wanted to deploy the Justice Department in various ways to help him win a second term. At the hearing, the aide said, the panel will describe how Trump pressed the department to file lawsuits as part of his re-election campaign, which following the November election tried to challenge Trump’s victory. Biden in court. The committee will also detail how Trump wanted the department to appoint a special counsel to investigate voter fraud cases — a request officials denied.
The hearing is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. ET and is expected to last approximately two hours. Further hearings are scheduled for July and will focus on Trump’s actions when a mob stormed the Capitol, among other issues.
However, the remaining timeline appears to be in flux, in part due to new information and leads coming into the committee’s whistleblower line after the first public hearing on June 9.
A new piece of evidence the committee is currently considering relates to footage shot by British filmmaker Alex Holder during the campaign. The video includes interviews with Trump and members of his family, as well as then-Vice President Mike Pence. The panel will likely highlight the images at an upcoming hearing.
Trump did not testify before the committee and should not, but used his megaphone to undermine the work of the panel. He accused members of selectively altering testimonies to make him look bad. In a speech in Nashville, Tennessee, last week, Trump said, “It’s a one-sided witch hunt.”