Ross: Jan. 6 committee hearings reveal just how far Trump leaned on the Justice Department

Jun 24, 2022, 7:00 AM
U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) shakes hands with Steven Engel, former Assistant Attorney General for ...
U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) shakes hands with Steven Engel, former Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel, as he an Jeffrey Rosen, former Acting Attorney General, and Richard Donoghue, former Acting Deputy Attorney General, leave after testifying before the House Select Committee (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

It all came down to a letter on official Justice Department (DOJ) stationery.

During yesterday’s hearing of the January 6th committee, we learned that Donald Trump wanted to send a letter to state officials saying that the Justice Department has identified significant concerns about the outcome of the election in several states, including Georgia.

The letter was ready to go. All the president needed was for the attorney general to sign it. But Attorney General Jeff Rosen said NO.

Because it wasn’t true. There were no major problems with the election.

Trump, however, was determined to find someone who would sign that letter. So, he called a meeting for January 3rd. Attorney General Rosen was there, along with other department officials, including the man who was ready to sign the letter, Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Clark.

And at one point in the meeting, the president turned to this man:

“Early on the president said, ‘What do I have to lose?’ It was actually a good opening because I said, ‘Mr. President, you have a great deal to lose,'” Richard Donoghue, deputy attorney general, said.

“He said, ‘So suppose I do this. Suppose I replace him, Jeff Rosen, with Jeff Clark, what would you do?’ And I said, ‘Mr. President, I would resign immediately. I’m not working one minute for this guy.'”

“The President immediately turned to Mr. Engel, and he said, ‘Steve, you wouldn’t resign, would you?’ And he said, ‘Absolutely I would, Mr. President, you leave me no choice.’ And I said, ‘you could have hundreds and hundreds of resignations of the leadership of your entire Justice Department because of your actions. What’s that going to say about you?'”

And that’s the comeback that saved American democracy. When Trump realized the collapse of the U.S. Justice Department would suddenly be a bigger story than his made-up fraud story, he backed down. The letter was never sent. And everyone went home. Although Donoghue did get a phone call later that night:

“My cell phone rang. It was the president, and he had information about a truck supposedly full of shredded ballots in Georgia that were in the custody of an ice agent, whose name he had,” Donoghue continued.

Donoghue, being sane, ignored it.

And so, I want to take this opportunity to say thank you – thank you to all the Trump loyalists who resisted invoking the 25th Amendment – because had Trump been removed early, no one would ever have believed what he was actually capable of.

And believe it or not, I want to say thank you to Mr. Trump himself – because you have shown us what happens when a businessman runs the government the way he runs his business, AND because you actually had the foresight to appoint the courageous people who are even now exposing everything you tried to do.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Dave Ross on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dave rossTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

Dave's Commentary

Dave Ross

covid fraud...
Dave Ross

Ross: Federal COVID economic relief programs reveal ‘we are a nation full of liars’

WA's COVID aid program ended up targeted by a Nigerian fraud ring that managed to make off with hundreds of millions of dollars.
17 hours ago
Murray debate...
Dave Ross

Ross: Why Washington needs its Senate candidates on the debate stage now more than ever

She’s got 30 years of experience with government so when her opponent talks about cutting spending, she can ask the questions dreaded by all new politicians
2 days ago
Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) speaks after polls close during the Republican primary election, at the Mead Ra...
Dave Ross

Ross: Winning a Wyoming primary is as easy as kissing the ring

Liz Cheney’s race is interesting to me because in her concession speech last night she suggested that – in Wyoming -- Republican voters prefer liars.
3 days ago
(AvgeekJoe via Flickr)...
Dave Ross

Ross: What can Sound Transit do to make their light rail platforms safer?

Sunday, a woman fell as a train approached the Mount Baker station in Seattle and was killed.
4 days ago
republican chair mar-a-lago law...
Dave Ross

Ross: Mar-a-Lago raid asks important questions about Trump’s handling of national secrets

When I started covering news in college in the 70s, you would never see a Republican question the legitimacy of the FBI.
5 days ago
Travis Mayfield

Why monkeypox should alarm the straight community: Op-Ed

A majority of you reading this are likely neither a queer man nor are you worried about this virus. Give me the next two minutes, and I’m going to try to convince you why you should be.
8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
Ross: Jan. 6 committee hearings reveal just how far Trump leaned on the Justice Department