The Trump Justice Department and White House may have collaborated in their attempts to overturn the 2020 election. According to new evidence from the Jan. 6 committee first reported by Rachel Maddow, White House communications staff may have worked on a draft letter written by Trump DOJ official Jeffrey Clark encouraging Georgia to appoint new electors who would overturn its election results.
The revelation comes from a transcript of a Nov. 5 deposition of Clark released by the committee on Wednesday as it referred a recommendation to the DOJ that Clark be charged with contempt of Congress for his refusal to cooperate with its Jan. 6 investigation.
According to the transcript Clark’s attorney, Harry MacDougald, told the committee during the deposition, “We do not intend to answer any questions or produce any documents today,” due to executive privilege. After a lengthy back-and-forth about whether Clark actually can claim executive privilege, Clark and MacDougald left. But the committee’s discussion continued as the panel’s chief investigative counsel rattled off a list of questions he’d hoped to ask Clark. Within those questions was a revelation about a letter Clark drafted to the Georgia governor and legislative leadership asking them to convene a special session of the legislature to investigate voter fraud claims.
“I also wanted to ask him about metadata in that draft letter that indicates some involvement with the White House Communications Agency and the drafting or preparation of that letter,” the Jan. 6 chief counsel said.
According to the question, it appears that metadata contained in the file of the draft letter indicates that the White House Communications Agency played a role in its drafting. That suggests a previously unknown level of cooperation between DOJ and the White House attempting to keep Trump in power. At the time Clark had hoped that then-Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue would sign the letter. “I think we should get it out as soon as possible,” Clark wrote in an email to Rosen and Donoghue. But they refused to send it.
“While the Department of Justice believe[s] the Governor of Georgia should immediately call a special session to consider this important and urgent matter,” the letter said, “if he declines to do so, we share with you our view that the Georgia General Assembly has implied authority under the Constitution of the United States to call itself into special session for [t]he limited purpose of considering issues pertaining to the appointment of Presidential Electors.”
Trump also personally called Georgia’s then-secretary of state, Brad Raffensberger, to encourage him to overturn the state’s election results. Trump told Raffensberger to “find” nearly 12,000 votes. Raffensberger later released audio of the conversation where Trump can be heard telling him, “The people in the country are angry. And there’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, um, that you’ve recalculated.”
Clark was scheduled for a deposition before the committee on Saturday, but the panel announced it was rescheduled for Dec. 16 because Clark has a “medical condition that precludes his participation.”