Trump and DOJ lawyer said to have conspired together to oust acting Attorney General
Top officials within the U.S. Justice Department received intel last month about former President Donald Trump's efforts to oust acting U.S. attorney general Jeffrey A. Rosen to gain more control over the department and force Georgia state lawmakers to invalidate the state's presidential election results.
According to The New York Times, Trump-nominated Department of Justice official Jeffrey Clark conspired together with the former president to come up with more ways to undermine the outcome of the presidential election so Trump could continue his ongoing legal battle to overturn the election. When Rosen refused to entertain any of Trump's requests and petitions, the former president decided to take matters into his own hands.
The ultimate goal was to fire the acting attorney general—who had only served in that capacity since Dec. 24 following former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr's resignation—and replace him with Clark who had no problem doing Trump's bidding. During a conference call between DOJ officials last month, they discussed possible outcomes in the event Trump did move forward with Rosen's dismissal. All of the department officials on the call reportedly agreed to resign over Trump's impending actions. The publication reports that the "informal pact" is what helped to keep Rosen in position.
Their informal pact ultimately helped persuade Mr. Trump to keep Mr. Rosen in place, calculating that a furor over mass resignations at the top of the Justice Department would eclipse any attention on his baseless accusations of voter fraud. Mr. Trump's decision came only after Mr. Rosen and Mr. Clark made their competing cases to him in a bizarre White House meeting that two officials compared with an episode of Mr. Trump's reality show "The Apprentice," albeit one that could prompt a constitutional crisis.
Clark has fired back to defend himself as he insisted that the account reported "contained inaccuracies," however, he has not specified exactly what the inaccuracies were. He also insisted that he could not discuss any of the conversations he had with the former president or DOJ officials due to "the strictures of legal privilege."
He added, "Senior Justice Department lawyers, not uncommonly, provide legal advice to the White House as part of our duties," he said. "All my official communications were consistent with law."
Clark is also denying the allegations about him plotting with the president to oust Rosen.
"My practice is to rely on sworn testimony to assess disputed factual claims," Mr. Clark said. "There was a candid discussion of options and pros and cons with the president. It is unfortunate that those who were part of a privileged legal conversation would comment in public about such internal deliberations, while also distorting any discussions."