Trump’s pressure on the US Department of Justice will be the focus of the January 6 hearing

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By Richard Cowan and Moira Warburton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Donald Trump’s failed efforts to pressure Justice Department officials to reverse his 2020 election defeat will be the subject of Thursday’s U.S. Congressional hearing on the attack on his supporters on January 6, 2021 against the US Capitol.

The hearing, which is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT), will take the public to the White House on January 3, 2021, when there has been discussion that then-President Trump may Fire Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and replace him. with staunch Trump supporter Jeffrey Clark.

Rosen is scheduled to testify before the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee along with Richard Donoghue, former acting deputy attorney general and former deputy attorney general in the Office of General Counsel Steven Engel.

According to committee aides, Justice Department officials have also been urged to take steps to encourage some states, such as Arizona and Georgia, to stage Trump victories over Democrat Joe Biden, even though Biden was the winner of these contests.

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Thursday’s hearing, the fifth this month, will examine how Trump, in the final days of his presidency, “used the Justice Department for his own personal needs” to stay in power beyond Jan. 20, 2021, said a committee aide.

For more than a year, the panel has been investigating the role played by Trump and his associates in the events leading up to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, where Congress was to officially certify Biden’s victory.

In a fiery speech outside the White House that day, Trump spoke of the need to undo his election defeat. His angry supporters fought their way to the Capitol, injured dozens of police officers and sent lawmakers and then-Vice President Mike Pence running for their lives.

Four people died the day of the attack, one fatally shot by police and the others from natural causes. Some 140 police officers were injured and one who fought the rioters died the following day. Four officers later died by suicide.

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Nearly 850 people have been arrested for crimes related to the riot, including more than 250 charged with assault or obstructing law enforcement.

Trump blamed his defeat on widespread fraud, though dozens of courts, state election officials and members of Trump’s own administration have dismissed his claims, and multiple witnesses testified they said so. to Trump.

Trump has repeatedly hinted that he could run for president again in 2024.

Thursday’s hearing, like previous ones, is expected to feature live and videotaped testimony from former officials and associates of the former Republican president.

They will testify, aides say, that Justice Department officials were pressured to publicly state that there had been voter fraud and that they were asked to sue for or with the Trump’s re-election campaign challenging the election result.

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The hearing will shed light on how a few senior Republican Justice Department officials resisted Trump’s pressure campaign.

Testimony is expected to show Clark penned a letter, never sent, to Georgia state lawmakers shortly after the 2020 election, falsely claiming the department found concerns that may have influenced the election outcome. there and elsewhere.

The letter urged state lawmakers to call a special session to overturn the election results there, but Rosen and Donoghue refused to send it.

Clark said little publicly about his actions in the final weeks of Trump’s presidency. On Twitter earlier this year, he called himself “one of the main targets of the politically motivated J6 committee”.

(Reporting by Richard Cowan and Moira Warburton; Editing by Scott Malone and Howard Goller)

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