Two whistleblowers say that Jeffrey Clark, who served in the Justice Department during the Trump era and was involved in efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election outcome, utilized his government role to inappropriately get a Trump ally in a position as assistant director at the Justice Department’s Civil Division. As summarized by NPR, the whistleblowers accuse Clark “of conducting a “sham” process and elevating a person who volunteered to defend a controversial Trump policy on abortion access, even though the person had far less experience than other finalists for the job.” Clark’s involvement in the hiring process was “unusual” to begin with, they added.
The whistleblowers outlined their concerns to members of both the House and Senate in addition to the inspector general overseeing the Justice Department. Clark originally announced that he was tapping the controversial Trump ally for the top department position just a couple of days before he himself left the department altogether ahead of the change of power.
Two officials at the Justice Department division where Clark placed the Trump ally said that they believed that the hiring process was appropriate, the whisteblowers said, but they added as follows:
‘What set the successful appointee apart from the other candidates was that the appointee — unlike the others — had volunteered and was part of the DOJ litigation team defending a controversial Trump administration policy.’
The policy blocked unaccompanied minor migrants from receiving abortions. A court eventually overruled this policy.
David Seide, a lawyer for the whistleblowers, added as follows:
‘Like other instances of misconduct by departing Trump administration officials, these abuses of authority are disturbing. Mr. Clark’s last-minute politicization of the DOJ hiring process and issuance of policy memoranda — capped by his willingness to participate in what was close to an attempted coup d’état — demands immediate, close and transparent oversight and investigations.’
As for the “coup d’état,” then-President Trump apparently considered a plan to replace then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen with Clark, who was broadly allied with the then-president in his fight against the presidential election outcome.
Clark wanted to use the Justice Department to help advance Trump’s fight. At one point, according to The New York Times, Clark wrote up a letter that he wanted Rosen to send to Georgia state legislators saying that they should “move to void Biden’s win” in the state, as the Times put it. At another point, according to the Times description, Clark wanted the Justice Department to hold a press conference “announcing that it was investigating serious accusations of election fraud,” which was false but would have helped boost public support for Trump’s delusional election fraud ideas.