Trump bid to co-opt DOJ to fraud is focus of latest Jan. 6 hearing

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Trump bid to co-opt DOJ to fraud is focus of latest Jan. 6 hearing

The House select committee investigating last year’s Capitol riot is turning its focus Thursday to former President Donald Trump’s efforts to get the Justice Department behind his bid to reverse the 2020 election results.

The 3 p.m. hearing will feature in-person testimony from former acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen, former acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue and former assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel Steven Engel. 

As in the previous four hearings, the committee is also expected to play clips from previously recorded interviews and depositions of top Trump aides, family members and administration officials – including former Attorney General Bill Barr. Closed-door testimony from former assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Clark – who expressed willingness to support Trump’s claims – is also expected. 

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) – one of the two Republicans who sit on the committee – will lead Thursday’s presentation. 

Former US President Donald Trump displayed on a screen during a hearing of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the US Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S. June 21, 2022.
Former President Donald Trump displayed on a screen during a hearing of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the US Capitol, June 21, 2022.
Al Drago/Pool via REUTERS

The hearing is expected to last at least two hours. 

The three DOJ officials’ testimony will likely highlight the former president’s threats to replace Department leadership if they did not declare the 2020 presidential election illegitimate due to voter fraud. 

“Just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the [Republican] Congressmen,” Trump told Rosen and Donoghue on Dec. 27, 2020, according to a report by the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

Committee aides told Axios the hearing is supposed to demonstrate how Trump was “trying to misuse the department to advance his own agenda to stay in power at the end of his term” and “how that really is different from historic precedent.”

A monitor shows former US Attorney General during the Trump administration, William Barr (Top C), giving testimony at a hearing of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the US Capitol, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, USA, 13 June 2022
A monitor shows former Attorney General William Barr giving testimony at a hearing of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the US Capitol, June 13, 2022.
EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

The committee is expected to hold at least two more public hearings as part of its investigation. The final hearings were originally slated to take place next week, but have been bumped to July due to what the panel describes as new evidence.  

The evidence includes footage from documentary filmmaker Alex Holder – who filmed former Trump and his family before and after the Capitol riot – documents from the National Archives, and new tips that have come in over the past two weeks. 

Thursday’s hearing comes two days after the committee outlined how Trump and his allies – mainly the 45th president’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani – pressured state and local officials to overturn the election results, despite a lack of evidence.

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