The government watchdog group known as Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has filed a federal criminal complaint against former President Donald Trump and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, alleging that attempts by the duo to overturn the outcome of the 2020 presidential election violated the law. Specifically, CREW zeroes in upon efforts by Trump and his allies to use the powers of the Justice Department for their personal, political ends.
BREAKING: We just filed a criminal complaint against Donald Trump and Mark Meadows for attempting to weaponize the DOJ as part of their larger campaign to overturn the results of the 2020 election. https://t.co/ULG0FVHkZE
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) July 29, 2021
As CREW puts it, “News reports and recently released internal DOJ emails reveal Trump and Meadows engaged in a public and private campaign to pressure federal and state government officials to use their authority to instigate frivolous investigations into voter fraud, file baseless lawsuits challenging the validity of the election in several states and commit election fraud with the intent of overturning the presidential election.” Apparently, Trump even called then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen almost every day late last year, pushing false claims of election fraud. This level of attempted political interference in the orderly functioning of the justice system demands serious examination.
As CREW President Noah Bookbinder put it:
‘These alarming and illegal acts were part of a broader conspiracy to deprive American citizens of their right to vote and to have their votes counted. Ultimately, this pattern of misconduct aimed at undermining the democratic process culminated in the seditious attack on the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021. Government officials who try to subvert our republic and undermine democratic rule must be held accountable to the full extent of the criminal law.’
Bookbinder also noted that by “pressuring top DOJ officials to investigate unfounded conspiracy theories, Trump and Meadows not only wasted crucial government resources, but showcased a brazen attempt to validate misinformation and politicize law enforcement powers to further Trump’s personal interests.” Rosen, who received those almost daily phone calls from Trump regarding election fraud, took over after then-Attorney General Bill Barr stepped aside, although not before Barr himself confirmed that no evidence of systematic election fraud had emerged. Rosen also faced other pressure to abide by the then-president’s wishes, with Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark — a Trump ally — even urging the holding of a press conference announcing an investigation by the department of substantial election fraud allegations. Such an announcement would have used the powers of the Justice Department to give unfounded support to election-related conspiracy theories.