Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News
An interim Senate Committee on the Judiciary report – meant to share initial findings of an investigation into allegations that former President Donald Trump sought to use the Department of Justice to overturn the 2020 presidential election – yielded little in the way of agreement between Republicans and Democrats.
In what quickly became a battle of competing narratives, the Democrat-led committee and Republicans representing the minority members of the committee released disparate findings within hours of each other.
Democrats cast the former president as a political despot bent on taking down the U.S. Constitution and taking over the Department of Justice, all for the sake of winning an election he’d lost.
Republicans described a President who sought to follow the advice of a DOJ whose membership he did not fully trust while, independent of this communication, he went about contesting election results with which he did not agree.
“Today’s report shows the American people just how close we came to a constitutional crisis,” committee Chair Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said in the report. “Thanks to a number of upstanding Americans in the Department of Justice, Donald Trump was unable to bend the Department to his will. But it was not due to a lack of effort. Donald Trump would have shredded the Constitution to stay in power.”
In their report Republicans labeled Democrats as political opportunists who had rushed preliminary findings into the public eye before all evidence had been collected.
“The documentary evidence to-date, once considered in proper context and stripped of political insinuations, shows that the facts differed sharply from the narrative that the Democrats attempted to create,” the Republican report reads. “The documentary evidence and witness testimony currently available shows that throughout President Trump’s interactions with DOJ officials concerning election matters, he did not abuse his constitutional authority with respect to his conduct toward DOJ.”
The Republican response was released through the office of Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley.
“The transcripts of this investigation speak for themselves, and they paint a very different picture from the left’s claims that the former president weaponized the Justice Department to alter the election results,” Grassley said in a release. “The available evidence shows that President Trump did what we’d expect a president to do on an issue of this importance: he listened to his senior advisors and followed their advice and recommendations.”
Much of the disparity in remarks from Democrats and Republicans comes down to how each party chose to interpret the available evidence, which consists of a collection of official records and interviews with three DOJ officials: former Acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen, former Acting United States Deputy Attorney General Richard Donaghue, and former United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia BJay Pak.
A key figure in the Democrats’ report is Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Division Jeffrey Clark, who supported Trump’s election fraud claims and has been accused by Democrats of pressuring both Rosen and Donaghue into announcing election fraud investigations.
In their release Democrats said Clark attempted “to induce Rosen into helping Trump’s election subversion scheme by telling Rosen he would decline Trump’s offer to install him in Rosen’s place if Rosen agreed to aid that scheme.”
Clark has not been interviewed by the committee, and the committee’s findings are based on the other DOJ officials’ description of Clark’s actions.
The Democrats’ report carries the weight of the committee but does not represent the committee’s final findings. However, the report contains four initial recommendations:
- Congress should more stringently restrict White House and DOJ communication on law enforcement matters
- The DOJ should further strengthen the policies that prevent it from being inserted into elections
- The District of Columbia Bar should investigate Clark
- The committee should withhold comment on criminal charges until the investigation is complete
The committee is still awaiting the fulfillment of additional records requests and could opt to interview additional witnesses.