Former President of the U.S. Donald Trump considered replacing the acting Attorney General with an official willing to pursue unsubstantiated claims of election fraud, and he pushed the Justice Department to ask the Supreme Court to invalidate President Joe Biden’s victory, the Wall Street Journal reported according to Reuters.
Citing people familiar with the matter, the Journal said the efforts in the last weeks of Trump’s presidency failed because of resistance from his Justice appointees who refused to file what they viewed as a legally baseless lawsuit in the Supreme Court.
Other senior department officials later threatened to resign if Trump fired then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, several people familiar with the discussions told the Journal.
Senior officials including Rosen, former Attorney General William Barr and former acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall refused to file the Supreme Court case, concluding there was no basis to challenge the election outcome and the federal government had no legal interest in whether Trump or Biden won the presidency, some of these people told the Journal.
After his Supreme Court plan got nowhere, Trump explored replacing Rosen with Jeffrey Clark, a Trump ally who had expressed a willingness to use the department’s power to help Trump continue his unsuccessful legal battles contesting the election results, the people told the Journal.
Trump backed off that plan after the threats from senior Justice Department leadership to resign if Rosen were removed, people familiar with the discussions said.
A Trump adviser, asked to respond to the U.S. media reports, said the former president “has consistently argued that our justice system should be investigating the broader, rampant election fraud that has plagued our system for years. Any assertion to the contrary is false and being driven by those who wish to keep the system broken.”