Lawsuit To Seize Trump Records Of Election Meddling Announced


The government watchdog group known as Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has filed a lawsuit seeking certain records related to the Justice Department’s response to political pressure from Trump and others to intervene in the election outcome. As CREW put it, the “Trump administration’s pressure campaign on the DOJ to overturn the election was a grave attack on our democracy, and the public should know how the Office of Legal Counsel [OLC] responded.” Thus, the CREW lawsuit is angled towards obtaining “all OLC memos, opinions, and records that indicate [Department of Justice (DOJ)] involvement or interference in the 2020 election,” the organization says.

CREW filed its lawsuit after authorities failed to fulfill the terms of a request for records that the organization filed under the Freedom of Information Act in August. CREW notes that since “DOJ policy dictates that it is supposed to defer oversight of the election process to the states, any OLC opinions provided to [Bill] Barr or [Jeffrey] Rosen on the legality of DOJ interference or investigation into elections would shed light on the extent of undue influence Trump had on the DOJ.” In other words, what was the Office of Legal Counsel telling top officials at the Justice Department? In keeping options open for meddling with the results, were officials going against legal guidance? CREW apparently wants to know.

In theory, the Office of Legal Counsel also could have been on Trump’s side, meaning that its findings would have constituted yet another front in the campaign to pressure officials at the department to meddle in the electoral process. Trump had a prominent ally at the department in then-official Jeffrey Clark, who tried to gin up official DOJ support for undermining the election results. Clark, for instance, wanted a letter to be sent to Georgia officials claiming that federal authorities had uncovered reasons to question the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election outcome, although such was false. Clark has been subpoenaed by the riot investigation committee in the House, but he has refused to answer substantive questions, leading to talk of holding him in contempt of Congress.