Multiple Trump Justice Dept Officials Agree To Cooperate At Jan 6 Hearing

0
1487

Three officials from the Trump era Justice Department will publicly testify at a hearing of the House committee investigating the Capitol riot scheduled for 10 a.m. Eastern on June 15.

The ex-officials in question include Jeffrey Rosen, Richard Donoghue, and Steven Engel. Rosen was acting Attorney General, Donoghue was acting Deputy Attorney General, and Engel was Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel. That position means that Engel led the office. “As previewed by Thompson/Cheney, the men will discuss Trump’s efforts hold onto power by weaponizing the Justice Dept,” New York Times reporter Katie Benner shared alongside a copy of a letter from Rosen’s current law firm informing the riot committee that “relevant authorities, including the Department of Justice, have now authorized Mr. Rosen to proceed.”

Rosen became acting Attorney General after the departure of then-Attorney General Bill Barr, who has spoken with the committee. Testimony that Barr previously provided was featured — via video footage — at this past Thursday’s public hearing of the riot committee. The footage shows Barr explaining how he “made it clear” to Trump that he “did not agree with the idea of saying the election was stolen and putting out this stuff, which I told the president was bullshit.” Predictably, Trump reacted in anger to Barr’s remarks — “Bill Barr was a weak and frightened Attorney General who was always being “played” and threatened by the Democrats and was scared stiff of being Impeached,” Trump complained. As for Rosen, he — while on the job at the helm of the Justice Department — also opposed the push to fight the presidential election. Trump considered replacing Rosen with someone onboard with his fraud lies, something he never ended up doing.

Although Rosen stayed on the job, Trump pushed him to take official action to back the false claims of systematic election fraud with which the then-president and allies of his were running. An email from the then-president via his assistant featured a document Trump wanted filed with the Supreme Court (which, like other courts, consistently turned back attempts to undo the outcome of the presidential election). The document apparently argued widespread election fraud was present and facilitated by actions state officials took under the cover of the pandemic. “The president was persistent with his inquiries, and I would have strongly preferred that he had chosen a different focus in the last month of his presidency,” Rosen previously stated to the Senate Judiciary Committee, to whom Rosen added: “But as to the actual issues put to the Justice Department, DOJ consistently acted with integrity, and the rule of law held fast.”

The hearing last Thursday of the riot panel featured witnesses including U.S. Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards, who was the first police officer injured at the Capitol amid the Trump supporters’ rampage there last year. Revelations from the panel have already been startling: vice chair Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said that Trump “placed no call to any element of the U.S. government to instruct that the Capitol be defended. He did not call his Secretary of Defense on January 6th. He did not talk to his Attorney General. He did not talk to the Department of Homeland Security. President Trump gave no order to deploy the National Guard that day, and he made no effort to work with the Department of Justice to coordinate and deploy law enforcement assets.” These details obviously torpedo the idea that culpability for what happened at the Capitol rests elsewhere, like with Nancy Pelosi, as certain right-wingers have claimed.