NYT: Trump plotted to pick loyalist AG to overturn election
CNN, 25 Jan 2021
Justice Department lawyer Jeffrey Clark nearly convinced then-President Donald Trump to remove then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and use the Department of Justice to undo Georgia's election results, The New York Times reported.
Clark -- who appealed to the former President's false claims of election fraud -- met with Trump earlier this month and told Rosen following the meeting that the then-President was going to replace him with Clark. Clark would then move to keep Congress from certifying the election results in then-President-elect Joe Biden's favor, according to the paper.
Rosen demanded to hear the news straight from Trump, according to the paper, and arranged a meeting on the evening of January 3 -- the same day that Trump's call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, in which Trump pressured the state official to find enough votes for him to win Georgia, came to light.
During the meeting, Rosen, another top Justice Department official and Clark gathered with Trump, White House counsel Pat Cipollone and other lawyers. Trump had Rosen and Clark state their cases for him, the Times reported. The Times cited two officials who compared Rosen's and Clark's opposing arguments during the meeting to an episode of "The Apprentice," Trump's old reality TV show.
Citing four former Trump administration officials, the paper reported that an agreement among department leadership that they would all resign if Rosen were fired helped sway Trump from removing his acting attorney general. The notion of department pandemonium, congressional investigations and blowback from fellow Republicans seemed to resonate with Trump, who after nearly three hours decided to allow Rosen to stay and determined that Clark's plan would not work, according to the Times.
CNN has reached out to the Justice Department for comment. Clark told the Times that its report contained unspecified inaccuracies and that he could not speak to his conversations with Trump or department lawyers.