Former acting deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue spoke on June 23 as the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack presented its findings in their fifth public hearing.
Donaghue went through the steps the Department of Justice took to investigate claims of fraud that former President Donald Trump had repetitively raised. They said they found none of the claims to be factual.
“We went through a series of other [claims that the president raised]. The truck driver who claim to have moved an entire tractor trailer of ballots from New York to Pennsylvania. That was also incorrect. We did an investigation with the FBI, interviewed witnesses at the front end and the back end of that trailer’s transit from New York to Pennsylvania. We looked at loading manifests. We interviewed witnesses, including, of course, the driver, and we knew it wasn’t true. Whether the driver believed or not was never clear to me, but it was just not true,” he said.
Donaghue began taking handwritten notes on a call with the president when he made an allegation that was new to him– that more than 200,000 votes were certified in Pennsylvania that were not actually cast. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill. showed Donoghue’s notes at the hearing which quoted the president directly from the call the two had.
“The president said, ‘just say the election was corrupt. And leave the rest of me and the Republican congressman,’” Kinzinger said. “That’s a direct quote from President Trump?”
“Correct, “ Donaghue said. “That’s an exact quote from President. Yes.”
Kinzinger also played video testimony from former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani where Giuliani was asked about whether obscure DOJ official Jeffrey Clark was recommended to be put in a leadership position of the department after Clark had pushed proposals to further the president’s effort to overturn the 2020 election.
“I do recall saying to people that somebody should be put in charge of the Justice Department who isn’t frightened of what’s going to be done to their reputation. Because the Justice Department was filled with people like that,” Giuliani said in a video testimony.
The hearing, the fifth of several planned by the Jan. 6 committee, focused on Trump’s pressure on the Department of Justice to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. In the year since its creation, the committee has conducted more than 1,000 interviews, seeking critical information and documents from people witness to, or involved in, the violence that day.
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