Trump reportedly pressed the DOJ to 'just say that the election was corrupt' and 'leave the rest to me'

Donald Trump
(Image credit: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump reportedly pressed officials at the Justice Department last year to declare the 2020 presidential election "corrupt" as part of an attempt to overturn the results.

Documents obtained by The New York Times and provided by the DOJ to lawmakers reportedly showed that Trump on Dec. 27 conducted a phone call with Acting Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen and his deputy, Richard P. Donoghue. The president told them to "just say that the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me" and his congressional allies, Donoghue summarized in his notes.

Donoghue reportedly told the president the DOJ had no power to overturn an election and at one point said that "much of the info you're getting is false," debunking several of his voter fraud claims. But Trump reportedly insisted that the people "saying that the election isn't corrupt are corrupt," demanding the DOJ take action because "thousands of people called" their U.S. attorney's offices with complaints. He also reportedly told them, "You guys may not be following the internet the way I do."

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"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," House Oversight Committee Chair Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) said.

At another point in the call, Trump also reportedly told the DOJ to "figure out what to do" with President Biden's son Hunter, telling them that "people will criticize the DOJ if he's not investigated for real."

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Brendan Morrow

Brendan is a staff writer at The Week. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in journalism, he also writes about horror films for Bloody Disgusting and has previously contributed to The Cheat Sheet, Heavy, WhatCulture, and more. He lives in New York City surrounded by Star Wars posters.