Former President Donald Trump said Saturday that House Democrats “dishonestly described” his efforts to challenge the election results in late 2020, saying documents released to the public do not show that he was trying to overturn the election.
“In fact, it is just the opposite,” Mr. Trump said in a statement. “The documents were meant to uphold the integrity and honesty of elections and the sanctity of our vote.”
Democrats on the House Oversight Committee on Friday released handwritten notes by Justice Department officials from late last year. Notes of a phone call last Dec. 27 indicate that Mr. Trump was pressuring then-Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen to take action on the presidential election.
Mr. Rosen told Mr. Trump that the Justice Department “can’t + won’t snap its fingers + change the outcome of the election, doesn’t work that way,” according to notes taken by Richard Donoghue, who was Mr. Rosen’s deputy and was also on the call.
Mr. Trump replied, “Don’t expect you to do that, just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the R. Congressmen,” according to Mr. Donoghue’s notes.
Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, New York Democrat, said the handwritten notes “show that President Trump directly instructed our nation’s top law enforcement agency to take steps to overturn a free and fair election in the final days of his presidency.”
Mr. Trump rejected her characterization.
“The corrupt and highly partisan House Democrats who run the House Oversight Committee yesterday released documents—including court filings dealing with the rigged election of 2020—that they dishonestly described as attempting to overturn the election,” he said. “The American people want, and demand, that the president of the United States, its chief law enforcement officer in the country, stand with them to fight for election integrity and to investigate attempts to undermine our nation.”
He said the nation “has just suffered an incredibly corrupt presidential election, and it is time for Congress and others to investigate how such corruption was allowed to take place rather than investigating those that are exposing this massive fraud on the American people.”
Just weeks before the phone call, then-Attorney General William Barr said the Justice Department had not found evidence of widespread election fraud that could have changed the outcome. Mr. Barr’s announcement reportedly infuriated Mr. Trump, who confronted him in a White House meeting.
Mr. Barr resigned from office shortly after that confrontation.
Ms. Maloney said the House Oversight Committee is scheduling interviews with witnesses as part of its investigation into Mr. Trump’s actions after the election. The Justice Department has authorized six Mr. Rosen, Mr. Donoghue, and four other witnesses to testify to the committee.