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Iran Press TV

US watchdog to probe if Justice Dept. officials sought to help Trump overturn election

Iran Press TV

Tuesday, 26 January 2021 8:11 AM

The US Justice Department's internal watchdog has announced an investigation into whether current or former department officials tried to improperly "alter the result of the November presidential election."

The probe follows the revelation that former President Donald Trump considered replacing his acting attorney general with another appointee more amenable to his claims of voter fraud, and to the department's power to help keep Trump in power.

US media earlier reported that Jeffrey Clark, the Justice department's acting assistant attorney general for the Civil Division, had plotted with Trump to oust then-Attorney General Jeff Rosen so that he could launch a probe of alleged voter fraud in Georgia.

Clark, the reports said, was sympathetic to Trump's "Stop the Steal" campaign, and that he met with Republican Congressman Scott Perry of Pennsylvania to discuss a plan to have the Justice Department send Georgia a letter disclosing the department would investigate the election results.

The plot, however, drew strong opposition from other senior officials in the department who threatened to resign en masse if Clark was appointed acting attorney general.

Top Justice Department officials had also refused Trump's demands that they get involved in contesting the election's outcome at the Supreme Court.

US Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz announced the watchdog's investigation on Monday, although he said his jurisdiction would be limited to "allegations concerning the conduct of former and current DOJ employees."

Trump and allies had long sought to press the Justice Department to help boost his claims of election fraud, but then-Attorney General William P. Barr said the department ultimately found the evidence lacking.

The state of Texas filed a lawsuit to throw out the November election results in four battleground states that Joe Biden won — Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Georgia — and wanted the Justice Department to support it. But the department officials agreed with most legal observers that the case was a lost cause. Trump's three choices for the Supreme Court also agreed to that finding.

Horowitz had already been examining another Justice Department misconduct over the November election which was the abrupt departure of the US attorney in Atlanta after Trump complained officials in Georgia were not doing enough to find election fraud. Trump had insisted he won the state and threatened vague legal consequences.

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