CD266: Contriving January 6th

Congressional Dish

Jan 6 2023 • 2 hrs 14 mins

The January 6th Committee investigation is over and four criminal charges against former President Donald Trump have been referred to the Justice Department by the Committee. In this episode, hear a summary of 23 hours of testimony and evidence presented by the Committee which prove that former President Trump went to extraordinary and illegal lengths to remain President, despite losing the 2020 Election.

Executive Producers: Michael Constantino, Shelley Stracener, Daniel Slaughter, and Christine Brendle

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Background Sources

Recommended Congressional Dish Episodes

CD236: January 6: The Capitol Riot

CD228: The Second Impeachment Trial of Donald Trump

The Final Committee Report

“Final Report of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the Capitol,” [House Report 117-663] 117th Congress Second Session. Dec 22, 2022. U.S. Government Publishing Office.

The January 6th Committee

“Inside the Jan. 6 Committee.” Robert Draper and Luke Broadwater. Dec 23, 2022. The New York Times Magazine.

2020 Election Litigation

“Litigation in the 2020 Election.” Oct 27, 2022. The American Bar Association.

“‘Trump Won Two-Thirds of Election Lawsuits Where Merits Considered.’” Daniel Funke. Feb 9, 2021. PolitiFact.

January 6th Security Failures

“Capitol Attack: The Capitol Police Need Clearer Emergency Procedures and a Comprehensive Security Risk Assessment Process,” [GAO-22-105001] February 2022. U.S. Government Accountability Office.

Electors and Vote Certification Process

“Who Are Electors And How Do They Get Picked?” Domenico Montanaro. Dec 14, 2020. NPR.

“About the Electors.” May 11, 2021. U.S. National Archives.

John Eastman

“Who is John Eastman, the Trump lawyer at the center of the Jan. 6 investigation?” Deepa Shivaram. Jun 17, 2022. NPR.

“About Us.” The Federalist Society.

“The Eastman Memo.”

Trump and Georgia

“The Georgia criminal investigation into Trump and his allies, explained.” Matthew Brown. Nov 22, 2022. The Washington Post.

“Here’s the full transcript and audio of the call between Trump and Raffensperger.” Amy Gardner and Paulina Firozi. Jan 5, 2021. The Washington Post.

AG Bill Barr Interview

“In exclusive AP interview, AG Barr says no evidence of widespread election fraud, undermining Trump.” Mike Balsamo. Dec 11, 2020.

“Barr tells AP that Justice Dept. hasn’t uncovered widespread voting fraud that could have changed 2020 election outcome.” Dec 1, 2020. The Associated Press.

Past Electoral Vote Challenges

“Post Misleadingly Equates 2016 Democratic Effort to Trump’s 2020 ‘Alternate Electors.’” Joseph A. Gambardello. Jun 29, 2022.

“Democrats challenge Ohio electoral votes.” Ted Barrett. Jan 6, 2005. CNN.

Fake Electors

“What you need to know about the fake Trump electors.” Amy Sherman. Jan 28, 2022. PolitiFact.

“Exclusive: Federal prosecutors looking at 2020 fake elector certifications, deputy attorney general tells CNN.” Evan Perez and Tierney Sneed. Jan 26, 2022. CNN.

“American Oversight Obtains Seven Phony Certificates of Pro-Trump Electors.” Mar 2, 2021. American Oversight.

Censure of Cheney & Kinzinger

“Read the Republican Censure of Cheney and Kinzinger.” Feb 4 2022. The New York Times.

Audio Sources

12/19/22 Business Meeting

December 19, 2022
House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol

10/13/22 Business Meeting

October 13, 2022
House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol

Featured speakers:

Kayleigh McEnany, Former White House Press Secretary
Molly Michael, Former Executive Assistant to the President
Pat Cipollone, Former White House Counsel


Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY): Why would Americans assume that our Constitution, and our institutions, and our Republic are invulnerable to another attack? Why would we assume that those institutions will not falter next time? A key lesson of this investigation is this: Our institutions only hold when men and women of good faith make them hold, regardless of the political cost. We have no guarantee that these men and women will be in place next time. Any future president inclined to attempt what Donald Trump did in 2020 has now learned not to install people who could stand in the way. And also please consider this: The rulings of our courts are respected and obeyed, because we as citizens pledged to accept and honor them. Most importantly, our President, who has a constitutional obligation to faithfully execute the laws, swears to accept them. What happens when the President disregards the court's rulings is illegitimate. When he disregards the rule of law, that my fellow citizens, breaks our Republic.

January 6 Committee Lawyer: To your knowledge, was the president in that private dining room the whole time that the attack on the Capitol was going on? Or did he ever go to, again only to your knowledge, to the Oval Office, to the White House Situation Room, anywhere else? Kayleigh McEnany: The the best of my recollection, he was always in the dining room. January 6 Committee Lawyer: What did they say, Mr. Meadows or the President, at all during that brief encounter that you were in the dining room? What do you recall? Gen. Keith Kellogg: I think they were really watching the TV. January 6 Committee Lawyer: Do you know whether he was watching TV in the dining room when you talked to him on January sixth? Molly Michael: It's my understanding he was watching television. January 6 Committee Lawyer: When you were in the dining room in these discussions, was the violence of capital visible on the screen on the television? Pat Cipollone: Yes.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL): A federal appeals court in Pennsylvania wrote, quote, "charges require specific allegations and proof. We have neither here." A federal judge in Wisconsin wrote, quote, "the court has allowed the former President the chance to make his case and he has lost on the merits." Another judge in Michigan, called the claims quote, "nothing but speculation and conjecture that votes for President Trump were either destroyed, discarded or switched to votes for Vice President Biden." A federal judge in Michigan sanctioned nine attorneys, including Sidney Powell, for making frivolous allegations in an election fraud case, describing the case as a historic and profound abuse of the judicial process. Recently, a group of distinguished Republican election lawyers, former judges and elected officials issued a report confirming the findings of the courts. In their report entitled "Lost, Not Stolen," these prominent Republicans analyzed each election challenge and concluded this: Donald Trump and his supporters failed to present evidence of fraud or inaccurate results significant enough to invalidate the results of the 2020 Presidential Election. On December 11, Trump's allies lost a lawsuit in the US Supreme Court that he regarded as his last chance of success in the courts.

Alyssa Farah: I remember maybe a week after the election was called, I popped into the Oval just to like, give the President the headlines and see how he was doing and he was looking at the TV and he said, "Can you believe I lost to this effing guy?" Cassidy Hutchinson: Mark raised it with me on the 18th and so following that conversation we were in the motorcade ride driving back to the White House, and I said, like, "Does the President really think that he lost?" And he said, "A lot of times he'll tell me that he lost, but he wants to keep fighting it and he thinks that there might be enough to overturn the election, but, you know, he pretty much has acknowledged that he, that he's lost.

07/12/22 Select Committee Hearing

July 12, 2022
House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol


Jason Van Tatenhove, Former Oath Keepers Spokesperson
Stephen Ayres, January 6th Defendant


Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL): According to White House visitor logs obtained by the Committee, members of Congress present at the White House on December 21 included Congressmen Brian Babin (TX), Andy Biggs (AZ), Matt Gaetz (FL), Louie Gohmert (TX), Paul Gosar (AZ), Andy Harris (MD), Jody Hice (R-GA), Jim Jordan (OD), and Scott Perry (PA). Then Congresswoman-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA) was also there.

Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL): We've asked witnesses what happened during the December 21 meeting and we've learned that part of the discussion centered on the role of the Vice President during the counting of the electoral votes. These members of Congress were discussing what would later be known as the "Eastman Theory," which was being pushed by Attorney John Eastman.

06/28/2022 Select Committee Hearing

June 28, 2022
House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol


Cassidy Hutchinson, Former Special Assistant to the President and Aide to the Chief of Staff


9:10 Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY): Today's witness, Ms. Cassidy Hutchinson, is another Republican and another former member of President Trump's White House staff. Certain of us in the House of Representatives recall that Ms. Hutchinson once worked for House Republican whip Steve Scalise, but she is also a familiar face on Capitol Hill because she held a prominent role in the White House Legislative Affairs Office, and later was the principal aide to President Trump's Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows.

10:10 Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY): In her role working for the White House Chief of Staff, Miss Hutchinson handled a vast number of sensitive issues. She worked in the West Wing, several steps down the hall from the Oval Office. Miss Hutchinson spoke daily with members of Congress, with high ranking officials in the administration, with senior White House staff, including Mr. Meadows, with White House Counsel lawyers, and with Mr. Tony Ornato, who served as the White House Deputy Chief of Staff. She also worked on a daily basis with members of the Secret Service who were posted in the White House. In short, Miss Hutchinson was in a position to know a great deal about the happenings in the Trump White House.

24:20 Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY): On January 3, the Capitol Police issued a special event assessment. In that document, the Capitol Police noted that the Proud Boys and other groups planned to be in Washington DC on January 6, and indicated that quote, "unlike previous post election protests, the targets of the pro-Trump supporters are not necessarily the counter protesters, as they were previously, but rather, Congress itself is the target on the Sixth.

27:45 Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY): Of course the world now knows that the people who attacked the Capitol on January 6 had many different types of weapons. When a President speaks, the Secret Service typically requires those attending to pass through metal detectors known as magnetometers, or mags for short.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY): The Select Committee has learned about reports from outside the magnetometers and has obtained police radio transmissions identifying individuals with firearms, including AR-15s near the Ellipse on the morning of January 6. Let's listen. Police Officer #1: Blue jeans and a blue jean jacket and underneath the blue jacket complaintants both saw the top of an AR 15. Police Officer #2: Any white males brown cowboy boots, they had Glock-style pistols in their waistbands. Police Officer #3: 8736 with the message that subject weapon on his right hip. Police Officer #4: Motor one, make sure PPD knows they have an elevated threat in the tree South side of Constitution Avenue. Look for the "Don't tread on me" flag, American flag facemask cowboy boots, weapon on the right side hip. Police Officer #5: I got three men walking down the street in fatigues and carrying AR-15s. Copy at Fourteenth and Independence.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY): We're going to show now an exchange of texts between you and Deputy Chief of Staff Ornato, and these text messages were exchanged while you were at the Ellipse. In one text, you write, "but the crowd looks good from this vantage point, as long as we get the shot. He was f---ing furious." But could you tell us, first of all, who it is in the text who was furious? Cassidy Hutchinson: The he in that text that I was referring to was the President. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY): And why was he furious, Miss Hutchinson? Cassidy Hutchinson: He was furious because he wanted the arena that we had on the Ellipse to be maxed out at capacity for all attendees. The advanced team had relayed to him that the mags were free flowing. Everybody who wanted to come in had already come in, but he still was angry about the extra space and wanted more people to come in.

Cassidy Hutchinson: And that's what Tony [Ornato] had been trying to relate to him [President Trump] that morning. You know, it's not the issue that we encountered on the campaign. We have enough space. They don't want to come in right now, they have weapons they don't want confiscated by the Secret Service. They're fine on the Mall, they can see you on the Mall and they want to march straight to the Capitol from the Mall. But when we were in the off stage announced tent, I was part of a conversation -- I was in the, I was in the vicinity of a conversation -- where I overheard the President say something to the effect of you know, "I don't think that they have weapons. They're not here to hurt me take the effing mags away. Let my people in, they can march to the Capitol from here. Let the people in, take the effing mags away."

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY): On December 1, 2020, Attorney General Barr said in an interview that the Department of Justice had now not found evidence of widespread election fraud, sufficient to change the outcome of the election. Ms. Hutchinson, how did the President react to hearing that news? Cassidy Hutchinson: I left the office and went down to the dining room, and I noticed that the door was propped open in the valet was inside the dining room changing the tablecloth off of the dining room table. The valet had articulated that the President was extremely angry at the Attorney General's AP interview and had thrown his lunch against the wall.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY): Miss Hutchinson, Attorney General Barr described to the Committee the President's angry reaction when he finally met with President Trump. Let's listen. Former Attorney General Bill Barr: And I said, "Look, I I know that you're dissatisfied with me and I'm glad to offer my resignation" and then he pounded the table very hard. Everyone sort of jumped and he said "Accepted."

Reporter: Leader McCarthy, Do you condemn this violence? Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA): I completely condemn the violence in the Capitol. What we're currently watching unfold is un-American. I'm disappointed, I'm sad. This is not what our country should look like. This is not who we are. This is not the First Amendment. This has to stop and this has to stop now.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY): Did White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows ever indicate that he was interested in receiving a Presidential Pardon related to January 6? Cassidy Hutchinson: Mr. Meadows did seek that pardon. Yes, ma'am.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY): While our committee has seen many witnesses, including many Republicans, testify fully and forthrightly, this has not been true of every witness. And we have received evidence of one particular practice that raises significant concern. Our committee commonly asks witnesses connected to Mr. Trump's administration or campaign whether they'd been contacted by any of their former colleagues, or anyone else who attempted to influence or impact their testimony, without identifying any of the individuals involved. Let me show you a couple of samples of answers we received to this question. First, here's how one witness described phone calls from people interested in that witness's testimony. "What they said to me is, as long as I continue to be a team player, they know I'm on the right team, I'm doing the right thing, I'm protecting who I need to protect, you know, I'll continue to stay in good graces in Trump World. And they have reminded me a couple of times that Trump does read transcripts and just keep that in mind as I proceed through my interviews with the committee." Here's another sample in a different context. This is a call received by one of our witnesses. "A person let me know you have your deposition tomorrow. He wants me to let you know that he's thinking about you. He knows you're loyal, and you're going to do the right thing when you go in for your deposition." I think most Americans know that attempting to influence witnesses to testify untruthfully presents very serious concerns.

06/23/22 Select Committee Hearing

June 23, 2022
House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol


Jeffrey A. Rosen, Former Acting Attorney General
Richard Donoghue, Former Acting Deputy Attorney General
Steven Engel, Former Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel
Eric Herschmann, Former White House Senior Advisor


Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS): From the time you took over from Attorney General Barr until January 3, how often did President Trump contact you or the Department to push allegations of election fraud? Former Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen: So between December 23 and January 3, the president either called me or met with me virtually every day, with one or two exceptions like Christmas Day

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ): Again, I join my colleagues in calling on Attorney General Barr to immediately let us know what he's doing. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ): We're already working on challenging the certified electors. And what about the court? How pathetic are the courts? Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL): January 6, I'm joining with the fighters in the Congress, and we are going to object to electors from states that didn't run clean elections. Democracy is left undefended if we accept the result of a stolen election without fighting with every bit of vigor we can muster. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH): The ultimate date of significance is January 6. This is how the process works. The ultimate arbiter here, the ultimate check and balance, is the United States Congress. And when something is done in an unconstitutional fashion, which happened in several of these states, we have a duty to step forward and have this debate and have this vote on the 6th of January.

Former Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue: So both the Acting Attorney General [Rosen] and I tried to explain to the President on this occasion, and on several other occasions that the Justice Department has a very important, very specific, but very limited role in these elections. States run their elections. We are not quality control for the states. We are obviously interested in and have a mission that relates to criminal conduct in relation to federal elections. We also have related civil rights responsibilities. So we do have an important role, but the bottom line was if a state ran their election in such a way that it was defective, that is to the state or Congress to correct. It is not for the Justice Department to step in. And I certainly understood the President, as a layman, not understanding why the Justice Department didn't have at least a civil role to step in and bring suit on behalf of the American people. We tried to explain that to him. The American people do not constitute the client for the United States Justice Department. The one and only client of the United States Justice Department is the United States government. And the United States government does not have standing, as we were repeatedly told by our internal teams. Office of Legal Counsel, led by Steve Engel, as well as the Office of the Solicitor General researched it and gave us thorough clear opinions that we simply did not have standing and we tried to explain that to the President on numerous occasions.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL): Let's take a look at another one of your notes. You also noted that Mr. Rosen said to Mr. Trump, quote, "DOJ can't and won't snap its fingers and change the outcome of the election." How did the President respond to that, sir? Former Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue: He responded very quickly and said, essentially, that's not what I'm asking you to do. What I'm just asking you to do is just say it was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican Congressmen.

Former Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue: There were isolated instances of fraud. None of them came close to calling into question the outcome of the election in any individual State.

January 6 Committee Lawyer: And was representative Gaetz requesting a pardon? Eric Herschmann: Believe so. The general tone was, we may get prosecuted because we were defensive of, you know, the President's positions on these things. A pardon that he was discussing, requesting, was as broad as you could describe, from the beginning of time up until today, for any and all things. He had mentioned Nixon and I said Nixon's pardon was never nearly that broad.

January 6 Committee Lawyer: And are you aware of any members of Congress seeking pardons? Cassidy Hutchinson: I guess Mr. Gaetz and Mr. Brooks, I know, both advocated for, there to be a blanket pardon for members involved in that meeting and a handful of other members that weren't at the December 21 meeting as the preemptive pardons. Mr. Gaetz was personally pushing for a pardon and he was doing so since early December. I'm not sure why. Mr. Gaetz had reached out to me to ask if he could have a meeting with Mr. Meadows about receiving a Presidential pardon. January 6 Committee Lawyer: Did they all contact you? Cassidy Hutchinson: Not all of them, but several of them did. January 6 Committee Lawyer: So you'd be mentioned Mr. Gaetz and Mr. Brooks. Cassidy Hutchinson: Mr. Biggs did. Mr. Jordan talks about congressional pardons but he never asked me for one. It was more for an update on whether the White House is going to pardon members of Congress. Mr. Gohmert asked for one as well. Mr. Perry asked for a pardon too, I'm sorry. January 6 Committee Lawyer: Mr. Perry, did he talk to you directly? Cassidy Hutchinson: Yes, he did.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL): Mr. Clark was the acting head of the Civil Division and head of Environmental and Natural Resources Division at the Department of Justice. Do either of those divisions have any role whatsoever in investigating election fraud, sir? Former Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen: No. And and to my awareness, Jeff Clark had had no prior involvement of any kind with regard to the work that the department was doing. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL): Is there a policy that governs who can have contact directly with the White House? Former Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen: Yes. So across many administrations for a long period of time, there's a policy that particularly with regard to criminal investigations restricts at both the White House and the Justice Department and those more sensitive issues to the highest ranks. So for criminal matters, the policy for a long time has been that only the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General from the DOJ side can have conversations about criminal matters with the White House, or the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General can authorize someone for a specific item with their permission. But the idea is to make sure that the top rung of the Justice Department knows about it, and is in the thing to control it and make sure only appropriate things are done. Steven Engel: The purpose of these these policies is to keep these communications as infrequent, and at the highest levels as possible, just to make sure that people who are less careful about it who don't really understand these implications, such as Mr. Clark, don't run afoul of those contact policies. Former Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen: He acknowledged that shortly before Christmas, he had gone to a meeting in the Oval Office with the President. That, of course, surprised me. And I asked him, How did that happen? And he was defensive, he said it had been unplanned, that he had been talking to someone he referred to as "General Perry," but I believe is Congressman Perry, and that, unbeknownst to him, he was asked to go to a meeting and he didn't know it, but it turned out it was at the Oval -- he found himself at the Oval Office. And he was apologetic for that. And I said, Well, you didn't tell me about it. It wasn't authorized. And you didn't even tell me after the fact. You know, this is not not appropriate. But he was contrite and said it had been inadvertent and it would not happen again and that if anyone asked him to go to such a meeting, he would notify [Former Acting Deputy Attorney General] Rich Donohue and me. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL): On the same day Acting Attorney General Rosen told Mr. Clark to stop talking to the White House, Representative Perry was urging Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to elevate Clark within the Department of Justice. You can now see on the screen behind me a series of tasks between representative Perry and Mr. Meadows. They show that Representative Perry requested that Mr. Clark be elevated within the department. Representative Perry tells Mr. Meadows on December 26, that quote, "Mark, just checking in as time continues to count down, 11 days to January 6 and 25 days to inauguration. We've got to get going!" Representative Perry followed up and says quote, "Mark, you should call Jeff. I just got off the phone with him and he explained to me why the principal deputy won't work especially with the FBI. They will view it as not having the authority to enforce what needs to be done." Mr. Meadows responds with "I got it. I think I understand. Let me work on the deputy position." Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY): Mr. Donohue on December 28, Mr. Clark emailed you and Mr. Rosen a draft letter that he wanted you to sign and send to Georgia State officials. This letter claims that the US Department of Justice's investigations have quote, "identified significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election in multiple States, including the state of Georgia." The letter also said this: quote, "in light of these developments, the Department recommends that the Georgia General Assembly should convene in special session," end quote, and consider approving a new slate of electors. Steven Engel: The States had chosen their electors, the electors had been certified, they'd cast their votes, they had been sent to Washington DC. Neither Georgia nor any of the other States on December 28, or whenever this was, was in a position to change those votes. Essentially, the election had happened. The only thing that hadn't happened was the formal counting of the votes. Former Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue: I had to read both the email and the attached letter twice to make sure I really understood what he was proposing because it was so extreme to me, I had a hard time getting my head around it initially. But I read it and I did understand it for what he intended and I had to sit down and sort of compose what I thought was an appropriate response. In my response, I explained a number of reasons this is not the Department's role to suggest or dictate to State legislatures how they should select their electors. But more importantly, this was not based on fact, that 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's way, I think would have had grave consequences for the country. It may very well have spiraled us into a Constitutional crisis. And I wanted to make sure that he understood the gravity of the situation because he didn't seem to really appreciate it. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL): President Trump rushed back early from Mar-a-Lago on December 31, and called an emergency meeting with the Department's leadership. Mr. Donohue, during this meeting, did the President tell you that he would remove you and Mr. Rosen because you weren't declaring there was election fraud? Former Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue: Toward the end of the meeting, the President, again was getting very agitated. And he said, "People tell me I should just get rid of both of you. I should just remove you and make a change in the leadership, put Jeff Clark and maybe something will finally get done." Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL): Mr. Rosen during a January 2 meeting with Mr. Clark, did you confront him again about his contact with the President? And if so, can you describe that? Former Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen: We had -- it was a contentious meeting where we were chastising him that he was insubordinate, he was out of line, he had not honored his own representations of what he would do. And he raised again, that he thought that letter should go out. And we were not receptive to that. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL): So in that meeting, did Mr. Clark say he would turn down the President's offer if you reversed your position and sign the letter? Former Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen: Yes. Subsequently, he told me that on the on Sunday the 3rd. He told me that the timeline had moved up, and that the President had offered him the job and that he was accepting it. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL): White House Call Logs obtained by the Committee show that by 4:19pm, on January 3, the White House had already begun referring to Mr. Clark as the Acting Attorney General. Let's ask about that, what was your reaction to that? Former Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen: Well, you know, on the one hand, I wasn't going to accept being fired by my subordinate. So I wanted to talk to the President directly. Former Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue: So the four of us knew, but no one else, aside from Jeff Clark of course, knew what was going on until late that Sunday afternoon. We chose to keep a close hold, because we didn't want to create concern or panic in the Justice Department leadership. But at this point, I asked the Acting AG [Rosen], what else can I do to help prepare for this meeting in the Oval Office, and he said, You and Pat [Cipollone] should get the Assistant Attorney Generals on the phone, and it's time to let them know what's going on. Let's find out what they may do if there's a change in leadership, because that will help inform the conversation at the Oval Office. We got most, not all, but most of the AAGs on the phone. We very quickly explained to them what the situation was. [They] essentially said they would leave, they would resign en mass if the President made that change in the department leadership. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL): DOJ leadership arrived at the White House. Former Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue: The conversation this point was really about whether the President should remove Jeff Rosen and replace him with Jeff Clark. And everyone in the room, I think, understood that that meant that letter would go out. And at some point, the conversation turned to whether Jeff Clark was even qualified, competent to run the Justice Department, which in my mind, he clearly was not. And it was a heated conversation. I thought it was useful to point out to the President that Jeff Clark simply didn't have the skills, the ability and the experience to run the Department. And so I said, "Mr. President, you're talking about putting a man in that seat who has never tried a criminal case, who's never conducted a criminal investigation, he's telling you that he's going to take charge of the department, 115,000 employees, including the entire FBI, and turn the place on a dime and conduct nationwide criminal investigations that will produce results in a matter of days. It's impossible. It's absurd. It's not going to happen, and it's going to fail. He has never been in front of a trial jury, a grand jury. He's never even been to Chris Wray's office." I said at one point, "if you walked into Chris Wray's office, one, would you know how to get there and, two, if you got there, would he even know who you are? And you really think that the FBI is going to suddenly start following you orders? It's not going to happen. He's not competent." And that's the point at which Mr. Clark tried to defend himself by saying, "Well, I've been involved in very significant civil and environmental litigation. I've argued many appeals and appellate courts and things of that nature." And then I pointed out that, yes, he was an environmental lawyer, and I didn't think that was appropriate background to be running in the United States Justice Department. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL): Did anybody in there support Mr. Clark?

Former Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue: No one. Along those lines, he [former President Trump] said, "so suppose I do this, suppose I replace him, Jeff Rosen, with him, Jeff Clark, what would you do?" And I said, "Mr. President, I would resign immediately. I'm not working one minute for this guy [Clark], who I just declared was completely incompetent." And so the President immediately turned to to Mr. Engel. Steven Engel: My recollection is that when the President turned to me and said, "Steve, you wouldn't leave, would

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