“Congress could begin taking testimony as soon as this week from top Justice Department officials who bore witness to then-President Donald Trump’s desperate attempt to overturn his 2020 reelection loss,” The Washington Post reports, and one of the key witnesses could be Richard Donoghue, who served as acting deputy attorney general towards the end of the Trump administration. Alongside then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, Donoghue faced pressure from Trump after last year’s presidential election to intervene and undercut Biden’s win. Donoghue refused to go along with these efforts, which included a late December phone conversation in which the then-president told Donoghue and Rosen to “just say the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me and the R[epublican] Congressmen.”
Donoghue has already agreed to offer testimony before Congress, apparently, and Trump has declined to try and block Donoghue (and others) from doing so. Besides the phone conversation with the then-president involving himself and Rosen, Donoghue also dealt with efforts by then-Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark to use the powers of the department in support of Trump’s lies about election integrity. As The Washington Post explains, Clark put together a draft letter that he wanted the Justice Department to send to Georgia officials. The letter, in short, “sought to urge the Georgia state legislature to call a special session to look at potentially overturning the election results in their state,” in the Post’s description.
Donoghue told Clark in response to his draft letter that there was “no chance” that he “would sign this letter or anything remotely like this,” also adding that it was “not even within the realm of possibility” for the Justice Department to send such a letter. Meanwhile, other messages from Donoghue have been revealed in which he discussed bonkers election-related conspiracy theories with Rosen as the White House pushed these nonsensical ideas on the department. After Rosen shared a message with Donoghue from then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows about a theory that satellites in Italy were somehow used to perpetrate election fraud, Donoghue responded by calling the notion “pure insanity.” At another point, Rosen revealed to Donoghue that he apparently wasn’t even planning to respond to an additional message from Meadows containing other nonsensical election fraud claims.