Trump Pressed Official to Wield Justice Dept. to Back Election Claims

Mr. Rosen made clear to his top deputy in one message that he would have nothing to do with the Italy conspiracy theory, arrange a meeting between the F.B.I. and one of the proponents of the conspiracy, Brad Johnson, or speak about it with Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer.

“I learned that Johnson is working with Rudy Giuliani, who regarded my comments as an ‘insult,’” Mr. Rosen wrote in the email. “Asked if I would reconsider, I flatly refused, said I would not be giving any special treatment to Giuliani or any of his ‘witnesses’, and reaffirmed yet again that I will not talk to Giuliani about any of this.”

Mr. Rosen declined to comment. A spokesman for Mr. Trump did not respond to a request for comment.

The documents “show that President Trump tried to corrupt our nation’s chief law enforcement agency in a brazen attempt to overturn an election that he lost,” said Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, a New York Democrat who is the chairwoman of the House Oversight Committee.

Ms. Maloney, whose committee is looking into the events leading up to the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol by a pro-Trump crowd protesting the election results, including Mr. Trump’s pressure on the Justice Department, said she has asked former Trump administration officials to sit for interviews, including Mr. Meadows, Mr. Clark and others. The House Oversight Committee requested the documents in May as part of the inquiry, and the Justice Department complied.

The draft brief that Mr. Trump wanted the Justice Department to file before the Supreme Court mirrored a lawsuit that Attorney General Ken Paxton of Texas had filed to the court, alleging that a handful of battleground states had used the pandemic to make unconstitutional changes to their election laws that affected the election outcome. The states argued in response that Texas lacked standing to file the suit, and the Supreme Court rejected the case.

The version of the lawsuit that Mr. Trump wanted the Justice Department to file made similar claims, saying that officials in Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, Nevada and Pennsylvania had used the pandemic to unconstitutionally revise or violate their own election laws and weaken election security.

The Wall Street Journal earlier this year reported that Mr. Trump pressured the Justice Department to ask the Supreme Court to invalidate the election results, and that former officials including Mr. Barr and Mr. Rosen had refused to file the brief, which had been prepared by outside lawyers. The officials argued that the Justice Department had no basis for challenging the election outcome and had no legal interest in who had won.

(With inputs from NYTimes)

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