Donald Trump and his allies in Congress relentlessly tried to corrupt the Department of Justice to help overturn the 2020 presidential election, according to former top department officials, who testified before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol on Thursday.
Three of the Justice Department’s leaders during the Trump administration’s final, chaotic weeks headlined the committee’s fifth hearing, explaining the different ways they deflected efforts by the former President and his associates to allow the agency to be used as a pawn in Trump’s efforts to reverse Joe Biden’s win.
Former Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue testified that Trump told him in a Dec. 27, 2020, meeting, “Just say that the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen.”
While much of the hearing focused on the testimony of the former Department officials, one of the most striking moments came afterward, when the committee aired taped testimony from White House lawyer Eric Hershmann and a top aide to former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, both of whom said that several Republicans in Congress sought presidential pardons after Jan. 6, including Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Paul Gosar of Arizona, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia.
Previously, the committee had only named Perry as one of the members of Congress who had sought a pardon. Most of the lawmakers attended a Dec. 21, 2020, meeting at the White House where they discussed last-ditch plans to block the…