A newly released batch of emails show that former President Trump and top aides were using all the leverage of the White House in their late-hour push to block the results of the 2020 election. Specifically, Trump and chief of staff Mark Meadows pleaded with Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen—who was soon to replace William Barr in the top post—to investigate their allegations of fraud, reports the Hill. Rosen rejected the pleas. The emails were released Tuesday by the House Oversight Committee and can be read here. Some examples:
- An email "From POTUS" to Rosen less than an hour before Trump announced Barr's resignation claimed that "a Cover-up is Happening regarding the voting machines in Michigan" and that "Michigan cannot certify for Biden." Trump alleged that the machines were "intentionally and purposefully" rigged against him, per the Washington Post. "It's indicative of what the machines can and did do to move votes," said the email, which provided suggested talking points for Rosen. "We believe it has happened everywhere."
- Two weeks later, Trump emailed Rosen and urged the Justice Department to file a brief with the Supreme Court arguing that state officials weakened voting security because of the pandemic, leading to widespread fraud, per the New York Times. The court had recently rejected a suit in Texas arguing much the same.
- Meadows was similarly pressuring Rosen, even sending him a link to a YouTube video outlining a conspiracy theory in which election results were somehow altered via Italy. Rosen emailed an assistant, referring to it as "pure insanity," reports NPR.
- The documents suggest that Trump blurred the traditional lines between the White House and Justice Department, which is set up to act independently on criminal investigations, per the Times. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, chair of the oversight panel, put it more strongly. "These documents show that President Trump tried to corrupt our nation's chief law enforcement agency in a brazen attempt to overturn an election that he lost," she said in a statement.
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