The group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has obtained a document crafted inside the Justice Department during the final weeks of the Trump administration that systematically dismantled an idea for the federal government to try and file a lawsuit with the U.S. Supreme Court meant to stop Biden’s progression towards the presidency. The document — which apparently features insights from then-head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel Steven Engel, delivered at the direction of then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen — offers a sweeping take-down for a particular election meddling plan and indicates the disturbing heights that attempts to meddle with the election reached inside the Trump administration. Top Justice Department officials shouldn’t have to try and push a president away from something legally baseless and threatening to democracy.
The proposed lawsuit to which the document in question responded was meant “to have the Supreme Court throw out the electoral votes from six states that Trump lost,” CREW explains, and it was promoted to Trump by right-wing attorney Kurt Olsen. Rosen presented the contents of the document that CREW obtained in a phone conversation with Trump on December 30, 2020, and the next day, he and then-acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue met with Trump in-person regarding the proposal. The document itself is pretty blunt; it states in part that there’s “no legal basis to bring this lawsuit,” adding: “We cannot ethically file a suit without a legal basis, and we are certain that if we did so, the Justices would promptly dismiss it. Anyone who thinks otherwise simply does not know the law, much less the Supreme Court. If there were a legal mechanism available, we would pursue it. But there is not. And this case is definitely not it.”
Rather than turn over records like he was legally required to do, Donald Trump took boxes of them from the White House to Mar-a-Lago and destroyed countless others. How is this not the biggest story in America?
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) February 15, 2022
Among other points, the document also outlined how there was no apparent legal standing for the federal government to bring the lawsuit. As it explained, “The United States, as a government, does not have any standing to challenge whether the States complied with their state electoral procedures… the United States, as a government, does not have a legal stake in the winner of the presidential election or whether individual states comply with their own laws.”
Trump tried to get the DOJ to help him overthrow the election.
The DOJ said no.
We got their talking points. https://t.co/WyN0ZhCGKw
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) February 14, 2022
Of course, Rosen’s advocacy against the notion of the federal government trying to basically sue certain states into stopping Biden’s win did not stop Trump from pursuing various and seemingly only increasingly desperate attempts to overturn the election outcome. The House committee investigating the Capitol riot has also been investigating Trump’s election meddling, and to that end, Rosen is among those to have spoken with the panel — which has heard from over 500 witnesses in total. Longtime Trump ally Rudy Giuliani has been in touch with the committee about cooperating.
Big news: The judge added the Trump Org in NY back into our lawsuit against the Presidential Inaugural Committee. Our lawsuit is moving forward fully intact & full steam ahead. We sued the inaugural committee for misusing funds to enrich the Trump family. Now we’re going to trial
— AG Karl A. Racine (@AGKarlRacine) February 15, 2022