- The Washington Times - Monday, January 25, 2021

The Justice Department inspector general said Monday that he has opened an investigation into whether top department officials plotted with former President Donald Trump to undo the results of the 2020 election.

The probe was announced just days after a report that Justice Department lawyer Jeffrey Clark nearly persuaded Mr. Trump to fire then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and use the department to change Georgia’s election results.

Investigators will review “all relevant allegations” that any former or current department official “engaged in an improper attempt to have the DOJ seek to alter the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.”

Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz said in a statement that he announced the investigation to “reassure the public.”

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.

The news was well-received by Democrats, who reacted to the initial New York Times report about Mr. Clark by calling for an inspector general probe.

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York on Sunday demanded that Mr. Horowitz investigate the allegations.

“Unconscionable a Trump Justice Department leader would conspire to subvert the people’s will,” Mr. Schumer said in a Twitter post. “The Justice Dept Inspector General must launch an investigation into this attempted sedition now.”

Mr. Clark reportedly met with Mr. Trump this month and even went so far as to tell Mr. Rosen after the meeting that the president would replace him.

Then, Mr. Clark would use the full weight of the Justice Department to block Congress from certifying the election results in favor of Joseph R. Biden by falsely suggesting widespread election fraud.

Mr. Rosen demanded to hear the news straight from Mr. Trump and arranged a meeting with the president on Jan. 3. That was the same day as Mr. Trump’s phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger during which Mr. Trump pressured him to find enough votes to declare him the state’s winner.

Mr. Clark “categorically denied” that he had devised a plan to oust Mr. Rosen.

“There were no ‘maneuver[s],’” he said in a statement to The Washington Post. “There was a candid discussion of options and pros and cons with the president. It is unfortunate that those who were part of a privileged legal conversation would comment in public about such internal deliberations, while also distorting any discussions.”

Mr. Clark was appointed by Mr. Trump to head the Justice Department’s environmental and natural resources division but later took over the civil division after the departure of Eric Drieband. That division oversees probes into election irregularities and voter fraud.

Other top Justice Department officials, including former Attorney General William Barr, have disputed Mr. Trump’s claims of voter fraud. A staunch supporter of the former president, Mr. Barr publicly broke with Mr. Trump to say Justice Department investigators uncovered no evidence of widespread wrongdoing.

Sen. Richard J. Durbin, an Illinois Democrat who is expected to become chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, promised his own investigation. On Monday, he joined a group of Democrats demanding that acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson hand over any relevant documents.

“The information revealed by this story raises deeply troubling questions regarding the Justice Department’s role in Trump’s scheme to overturn the election,” he wrote Monday in a letter to Mr. Wilkinson. “The Senate Judiciary Committee will conduct vigorous oversight of these matters. As a first step, we seek your immediate assurance that the department will preserve all relevant materials in its possession, custody or control.”

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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