Government lawyers threatened to resign en masse if Donald Trump had followed through with plans to use the Justice Department to pursue unfounded claims of election fraud during his last days in office, according to a new report.
A Senate Judiciary Committee interim report examining the then-president’s efforts to overturn the result of the 2020 presidential election specifically details a 3 January meeting at the White House at which officials fought with Mr Trump.
Then-acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen and other senior administration figures met with Mr Trump in the Oval Office about the president’s plan to replace Mr Rosen with a loyalist who would pursue the false claims of mass voter fraud.
Officials insisted that they would resign rather than go along with it — this included White House counsel, Pat Cipollone, and his deputy.
According to the report, Mr Cipollone likened the president’s plan to a “murder-suicide pact”.
The report, titled Subverting Justice: How the Former President and His Allies Pressured DOJ to Overturn the 2020 Election, was released on Thursday.
Drawing on interviews and documents from top Justice Department officials, including Mr Rosen, his deputy Richard Donoghue, the report also includes more context about the role of Jeffrey Clark, the little-known department official allegedly in favour of pursuing the president’s baseless claims of fraud to cast doubt on the election.
The New York Times has previously reported that Mr Clark was the loyalist that Mr Trump wanted to install as acting attorney general in his final weeks in office.