Trump ally Jeffrey Clark was adamant about fraud in 2020 election despite evidence, chief says
Trump ally Jeffrey Clark was adamant about fraud in 2020 election despite evidence, chief says

WASHINGTON (AP) — The second day of a disciplinary hearing for a former Justice Department official Geoffrey Clarke paints a picture of someone who, despite numerous attempts by his superiors to convince him otherwise, remains adamant that the 2020 election was marred by irregularities and fraud that warrant further investigation.

Testifying Wednesday before the three-judge accountability panel, former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said he and Richard Donohue, who was the acting No. 2, met repeatedly with Clark after the 2020 presidential election to urge him to change its position on how the department should handle allegations of voter fraud.

Clark is accused of attempted misconduct during his role in the consequences about then-President Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential election loss and an attempt to cancel the 2020 election. At issue is a letter drafted by Clark that said the department was investigating “various irregularities” and found “significant concerns” that may have affected the election. He was trying to convince Rosen and Donohue to send the letter to Georgia.

In a meeting the men held with Clark, they asked why he was pushing a matter that was outside his purview as the then-acting head of the department’s civilian division.

“Mr. Clark was not very forthcoming. He just indicated that these were his ideas. He thought they were good,” Rosen said.

The two tried to explain why the department concluded that although there was fraud and abuse, it was not enough to cost Trump the election. The men also learned that Clark had spoken to Trump, a violation of department policy on who should have contact with the White House.

Rosen said the meeting ended with Clark saying, “Well, I thought those were good ideas, but if you don’t like them, then OK.” Rosen and Donohue believe Clark accepted their explanation and the matter was closed.

This was not the case. Clark continued his efforts and kept in touch with Trump.

Rosen changed course, and at one point Clark received a classified briefing from the office of the director of national intelligence about an allegation he had heard. Rosen and Donohue decided to grant him access and also suggested he speak with a U.S. attorney in Georgia about how he prosecuted the charges there.

“He had expressed an interest in the ODNI report, so I thought this was a way to both stop him from giving bad advice to the president and maybe find out why the rest of the department had the position that we did,” Rosen testified .

Clark did not budge from his position, disagreeing with the report. He has not contacted the US Attorney.

The issue came to a head when Trump considered firing Rosen and replacing him with Clark. That was averted when senior executives at the Justice Department and White House lawyers said they would walk out if Trump took that step.

Rosen’s testimony took most of the day. Clark was called to testify by Hamilton Fox III, the disciplinary attorney at the hearing, over the objections of Clark’s attorneys, who pointed out that their client had made it clear to invoke privilege.

Clark answered initial questions about when he joined the Washington, D.C., bar and his work history leading up to his time at the Department of Justice.

He invoked several privileges, including executive branch privilege, law enforcement privilege, deliberative process privilege, attorney-client privilege and the Fifth Amendment, which protects people from providing self-incriminating testimony, during more than 30 minutes of questioning by Fox , focusing on the letter and Clark’s post-election role.

At one point, after Fox’s questioning, board member Patricia Matthews asked who Clark’s client was for his invocation of attorney-client privilege, and Clark replied, “President Trump. The head of the executive branch. The one and only head of article two, the executive branch of the government of the United States.

One of his lawyers intervened and asked that Clark continue to invoke the privilege he had used during the rest of the questioning.

Clark is facing criminal charges in Georgia for his role in the attempted nullification of the election there. It’s Trump one of the co-defendants.

Clark could face sanctions, including possible disqualification. He may appeal any action taken against him to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

His lawyer, Harry McDougald, said action taken against his client for engaging in the normal back-and-forth between lawyers would have a chilling effect on the profession.

The case resumes on Thursday with witnesses for the defense.

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