A drafted letter circulated by a top Department of Justice official in the Trump administration puts in stark terms the effort to hand the Republican-led Georgia legislature an opportunity to overturn the election results.
Jeffrey Clark, then an acting assistant attorney general, pushed then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and his deputy Richard Donoghue to sign the letter pushing Georgia lawmakers to convene a special session of the state legislature to throw President Joe Biden’s win into doubt.
The December 2020 letter, along with emails sent between the three officials, was first reported by ABC News.
The letter lists that a special session should evaluate the “irregularities” of the 2020 election, “determine whether those violations show which candidate for President won the most legal votes in the November 3 election” and ultimately determine whether the election failed to make a “proper and valid choice” between Trump and Biden, leaving it up to the GOP-majority legislature whether to overrule the election results and send Congress a slate of Trump electors instead.
There was no widespread fraud in the 2020 election, as the DOJ concluded weeks prior to the drafted letter, though Trump spread the lie in the hopes that it would help him overturn his loss.
The letter is also loaded with implicit threats to Governor Brian Kemp (R), who provoked Trump’s ire in his refusal to go along with the President’s full-fledged assault against the integrity of the state’s election.
“While the Department of Justice believes the Governor of Georgia should immediately call a special session to consider this important and urgent matter, if he declines to do so, we share with you our view that the Georgia General Assembly has implied authority under the Constitution of the United States to call itself into special session for the limited purpose of considering issues pertaining to the appointment of presidential electors,” the letter says.
In other words: help overturn the election, or get out of the way.
Ultimately, both Rosen and Donoghue refused to sign it.
“There is no chance that I would sign this letter or anything remotely like this,” Donoghue wrote, per ABC News. “While it may be true that the Department ‘is investigating various irregularities in the 2020 election for President’ (something we typically would not state publicly) the investigations that I am aware of relate to suspicions of misconduct that are of such a small scale that they simply would not impact the outcome of the Presidential Election.”
The House Oversight Committee recently released Donoghue’s handwritten notes from around the same time, where he documents Trump’s attempts to use the DOJ to deem the election “corrupt” and help in his effort to overthrow the results. Trump also threatened, per Donoghue’s notes, to axe him and Rosen if they wouldn’t comply and to install Clark instead.
Clark is now at a right-wing legal group where he’s fighting vaccine mandates.
Read the full letter via ABC News here: