The House Oversight committee on Friday released handwritten notes of a Dec. 2020 phone call which appear to show that then-President Donald Trump pressed Justice Department officials to declare that the 2020 presidential election was corrupt, despite no evidence of widespread voter fraud, so he and Congressional allies could try and overturn the results of the election.
The notes were taken by former Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue, who was on the Dec. 27, 2020, call along with Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen.
“Just say that the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me and the R. Congressmen,” Trump told the senior Justice Department officials, according to Donoghue’s notes.
The pressure is all the more notable because just weeks earlier, Trump’s own Attorney General William Barr, had declared that the department had found no evidence of widespread fraud that could have overturned the results.
The call took place just days after Barr resigned, and about a week and a half before the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol in which pro-Trump loyalists stormed the building as Congress was certifying the election results.
Emails released last month show that Trump and his allies in the last weeks of his presidency pressured the Justice Department to investigate unsubstantiated claims of widespread 2020 election fraud, and the department’s inspector general is looking into whether department officials tried to subvert the results.
House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., said in a statement that “these 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.”
“The Committee has begun scheduling interviews with key witnesses to investigate the full extent of the former President’s corruption,” Maloney’s statement continued, “and I will exercise every tool at my disposal to ensure all witness testimony is secured without delay.”
The Justice Department earlier this week authorized six witnesses to appear before the panel, citing the public interest in the “extraordinary events” of those final weeks.
Trump also urged the DOJ to investigate Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, more aggressively, according to the notes: "You figure out what to do w/ H. Biden — people will criticize the DOJ if he’s not investigated for real."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.