New York Times: Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows pushed DOJ to investigate baseless election fraud claims

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Meadows sent five emails in late December and early January to then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen asking him to look into election fraud claims in Georgia and New Mexico and other debunked theories that Trump had won the election, the Times reported.

The emails from Meadows add to the flagrant attempts Trump made to pressure the Justice Department to overturn his election loss, an extraordinary overreach to compel the department to take partisan political action for his personal benefit. There is no evidence of widespread election fraud that would overturn the 2020 election results, and Meadows’ emails to Rosen, the Times noted, violated guidance that bars most White House staff from contacting the DOJ about investigations.

The Times reported that the emails were uncovered this year as part of a Senate Judiciary Committee investigation into whether Justice Department officials were involved in efforts to reverse Trump’s election loss.

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, told the Times in a statement that the “new evidence underscores the depths of the White House’s efforts to co-opt the department and influence the electoral vote certification.”

“I will demand all evidence of Trump’s efforts to weaponize the Justice Department in his election subversion scheme,” Durbin added.

CNN has reached out to Durbin for comment.

A spokesperson for Meadows and the Justice Department declined to comment to the Times.

Rosen did not respond to a request from the newspaper for comment.

In the one of the emails he sent Rosen, Meadows pressed the Justice Department to look into a baseless belief that signature match anomalies in Georgia’s Fulton County were enough to flip the results for Trump, the Times reported, as well as a list of unproven allegations about potential election wrongdoing in New Mexico.

Meadows also asked Rosen to investigate an unfounded conspiracy theory, known as “Italygate,” which claims people in Italy had used military technology and satellites to remotely switch votes for Trump to Joe Biden on US voting machines, according to the Times.

One of the emails appeared to indicate that Rosen had declined to set up a meeting between the FBI and a man who was promoting the Italy conspiracy theory in online videos, the newspaper reported.

Having reviewed portions of the emails, the Times reported that none of the correspondence showed Rosen agreeing to Meadows’ proposals to launch the investigations. Former officials and people close to Rosen told the Times that Rosen did not open any such investigations.

A former Republican congressman from North Carolina, Meadows resigned from Congress in 2020 to be Trump’s fourth chief of staff. He sided with Trump’s disingenuous attacks against mail-in voting and fed his baseless claim that the election was stolen from him, which has contributed to the erosion of public trust in the American electoral process.

Online conspiracy theories and Trump’s promotion of the lies about the 2020 election fueled a group of his supporters to violently attack the US Capitol building on January 6 in an attempt to block Congress from certifying Biden’s election win.

The Senate Judiciary Committee investigation is one of three probes into the previous administration’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in Trump’s final days in office, the Times reported. The House Oversight Committee and the Justice Department’s inspector general are also investigating, according to the Times.

The Times reported in January that Trump had pressured Rosen from the onset of his role as acting attorney general to appoint special counsels to investigate baseless claims that the election’s integrity had been widely compromised, and specifically to probe Dominion Voting Systems, which Trump falsely claimed had perpetuated widespread fraud. Trump also plotted to fire Rosen and replace him with a Justice Department lawyer who would then seek to use the department to undo Georgia’s presidential election results, the paper reported.
Trump also pushed the Department of Justice to directly ask the Supreme Court to invalidate Biden’s election win, the Wall Street Journal reported in January.

CNN’s Caroline Kelly contributed to this report.



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