Mid-December was a turning point. President Trump made a decision, a choice, to ignore the courts and his advisers and to push forward to overturn the election.
His efforts to overturn the election were not random or disconnected; rather, they were part of a coordinated, multi-part plan to ensure that he stayed in power.
Donald Trump was the driver behind each part of this plan. He was personally and directly involved.
Of course, a key element of the plan was continuing to convince tens of millions of Americans that he did not, in fact, lose. Again, he did this even though his own campaign advisers and his Justice Department officials told him his claims of fraud were wrong.
In this video, you will see that even when top law enforcement officials told the President his election fraud claims were false, he still repeated the claims in the days and weeks that followed, sometimes even the very next day.
Attorney General BARR. He specifically raised the Dominion voting machines, which I found to be among the most disturbing allegations, disturbing in the sense that I saw absolutely zero basis for the allegations. I told him that it was crazy stuff, and they were wasting their time on that, and it was doing a grave disservice to the country.
President TRUMP. We have a company that’s very suspect. Its name is Dominion. With the turn of a dial or the change of a chip you can press a button for Trump and the vote goes to Biden. What kind of a system is this?
Mr. DONOGHUE. We definitely talked about Antrim County again. That was sort of done at that point, because the hand recount had been done and all that. But we cited back to that to say, you know, “This is an example of what people are telling you and what’s being filed in some of these court filings that are just not supported by the evidence. And this is the problem. The problem is people keep telling you these things and they turn out not to be true.”
President TRUMP. In addition, there is the highly troubling matter of Dominion Voting Systems. In one Michigan County alone, 6,000 votes were switched from Trump to Biden, and the same systems are used in the majority of States in our country.
Attorney General BARR. I went into this and would, you know, tell him how crazy some of these allegations were and how ridiculous some of them were. I’m talking about some of the things like, you know, more votes—more absentee votes were cast in Pennsylvania than there were absentee ballots requested, you know, stuff like that, it was just easy to blow up. There was never—there was never an indication of interest in what the actual facts were.
President TRUMP. There were more votes than there were voters. Think of that. You had more votes than you had voters. That’s an easy one to figure. And it’s by the thousands.
Attorney General BARR. Then he raised the big vote dump, as he called it, in Detroit, and he said people saw boxes coming into the counting station at all hours of the morning. And I said, “Mr. President, there are 630 precincts in Detroit, and unlike elsewhere in the State, they centralize the counting process so they’re not counted in each precinct. They’re moved to counting stations. And so the normal process would involve boxes coming in at all different hours.”
President TRUMP. This is Michigan. At 6:31 in the morning, a vote dump of 149,772 votes came in unexpectedly.
Mr. DONOGHUE. With regard to Georgia, we looked at the tape. We interviewed the witnesses. There is no suitcase. The President kept fixating on this suitcase that supposedly had fraudulent ballots and that the suitcase was rolled out from under the table. And I said, “No, sir, there is no suitcase. You can watch that video over and over. There is no suitcase. There is a wheeled bin where they carry the ballots, and that’s just how they move ballots around that facility. There’s nothing suspicious about that at all.”
President TRUMP. Election officials pull boxes, Democrats, and suitcases of ballots out from under a table. You all saw it on television. Totally fraudulent.
This happened over and over again, and our Committee’s report will document it, purposeful lies made in public directly at odds with what Donald Trump knew from unassailable sources, the Justice Department’s own investigations, and his own campaign. Donald Trump maliciously repeated this nonsense to a wide audience over and over again. His intent was to deceive.
President Trump’s plan also involved trying to coerce Government officials to change the election outcome in the States he lost. He personally reached out to numerous State officials and pressured them to take unlawful steps to alter the election results in those States.
These actions, taken directly by the President himself, made it clear what his intentions were: to prevent the orderly transfer of power.
We all recall, for example, President Trump’s tape-recorded call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. At the time this call occurred, President Trump had already been told repeatedly by the U.S. Justice Department, by his campaign, and by his advisers that his allegations of fraud in Georgia were false.
President TRUMP. So, look, all I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have, because we won the State.
Look, we need only 11,000 votes. We have far more than that as it stands now. We’ll have more and more.
So what are we going to do here, folks? I only need 11,000 votes. Fellas, I need 11,000 votes. Give me a break.
“I just want to find 11,780 votes.” That is an extraordinary demand by the President, especially since he already knew from the Justice Department there was no genuine basis for this request. No one could think it would be legal for the secretary of state to simply “find the votes” the President needed in order to win.
Secretary Raffensperger told the President the truth—that he lost the election in Georgia. But President Trump did not accept that answer. Instead, he suggested that Secretary Raffensperger himself might be prosecuted.
President TRUMP. That’s a—you know, that’s a criminal—that’s a criminal offense. And, you know, you can’t let that happen. That’s a big risk to you and to Ryan, your lawyer. That’s a big risk.
We know that President Trump’s White House advisors reacted negatively. Immediately after the call, Cassidy Hutchinson had a conversation with Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
Ms. HUTCHINSON. I remember looking at Mark, and I said, “Mark, he can’t possibly think we’re going to pull this off. Like, that call was crazy.” And he looked at me and just started shaking his head, and he’s like, “No, Cass, you know, he knows it’s over. He knows he lost. But we’re going to keep trying. There are some good options out there still. We’re going to keep trying.”
This call and other related activity is now the focus of an ongoing criminal investigation in Fulton County, Georgia.
Georgia is not the only State where President Trump tried to pressure State officials to change the results. He also attempted to pressure State officials in Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Michigan to change the results in those States as well.
While President Trump was pressuring State officials, he was also trying to use the Department of Justice to change the election result. His top officials told him that there was no evidence to support his claims of fraud, but he didn’t care. As he told them, “Just say the election was corrupt, and leave the rest to me and the [Republican] Congressmen.”
When these officials would not do what he said, President Trump embarked on an effort to install Jeff Clark as Acting Attorney General, solely because he would do what others in the Department would not do.
We know that Trump was doing so for a specific purpose: so Clark could corruptly employ the Justice Department’s authority to help persuade the States to flip electoral votes.
For example, when Richard Donoghue and Jeff Rosen, both appointed by President Trump, learned of Mr. Clark’s proposal, here is why they said they forcefully rejected it.
Mr. DONOGHUE. And I recall toward the end saying, “What you’re proposing is nothing less than the United States Justice Department meddling in the outcome of a Presidential election.”
But, more importantly, this was not based on fact. This was actually contrary to the facts as developed by Department investigations over the last several weeks and months. So I responded to that. And for the Department to insert itself into the political process this way I think would have had grave consequences for the country. It may very well have spiraled us into a constitutional crisis.
We know from our investigation that President Trump offered Jeff Clark the position of Acting Attorney General and that Jeff Clark had decided to accept it.
The only reason this ultimately did not happen is that the White House Counsel and a number of Justice Department officials confronted the President in the Oval Office and threatened mass resignations.
Mr. DONOGHUE. And then—and I said something to the effect of, “You’re going to have a huge personnel blowout within hours, because you’re going to have all kinds of problems with resignations and other issues, and that’s not going to be in anyone’s interest.”
The President ultimately relented, only because the entire leadership of the Department of Justice, as well as his White House Counsel, threatened to resign.
Neither the Catt Center nor Iowa State University is affiliated with any individual in the Archives or any political party. Inclusion in the Archives is not an endorsement by the center or the university.