In a desperate effort to delegitimize Joe Biden’s legitimate election victory, former President Trump reportedly urged the Justice Department to directly ask the Supreme Court to overturn the election results — an attempt that fell flat after DOJ leadership refused to take up Trump’s request, according to the Wall Street Journal on Saturday.
The WSJ’s report comes a day after the New York Times first reported that DOJ lawyer Jeffrey Clark conspired with Trump to push out acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen after Rosen refused the former president’s calls to overturn the election results.
According to the WSJ, senior officials at the DOJ — which included Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, former Attorney General William Barr and former acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall — refused to grant Trump’s request that the agency file a lawsuit challenging Biden’s victory before the former president left office last week. Rosen, Barr and Wall concluded that there was no basis to challenge the election outcome and the federal government had no legal interest in whether Trump or Biden won the presidency.
Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Patrick Philbin, the former White House deputy counsel, also opposed Trump’s request for the DOJ to take his fruitless efforts to overturn the election results all the way to the Supreme Court, according to the WSJ.
“He wanted us, the United States, to sue one or more of the states directly in the Supreme Court,” a former administration official told the WSJ, before adding that “the pressure got really intense” after the Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) in December that attempted to overturn Biden’s election victory.
An outside lawyer working for Trump reportedly drafted a brief that the then-president wanted the DOJ to file, but officials refused, according to the WSJ.
According to the WSJ, Trump began weighing replacing Rosen as acting attorney general with Clark, a known Trump ally who was willing to do the then-president’s bidding by using the DOJ’s power to aid in Trump’s baseless legal battles challenging the election results.
Trump reportedly backed off the plan to replace Rosen with Clark after senior DOJ leadership collectively threatened to resign if Trump ousted Rosen, according to the WSJ.