Former president Donald Trump has lashed out after contemporaneous notes appeared to show that he pressured the Justice Department to call the 2020 election “corrupt.” In an email to his supporters, Mr Trump accused Democrats of misrepresenting the notes.
“The corrupt and highly partisan House Democrats who run the House Oversight Committee yesterday released documents – including court filings dealing with the rigged election of 2020 – that they dishonestly described as attempting to overturn the election,” Mr Trump wrote. “In fact, it is just the opposite. The documents were meant to uphold the integrity and honesty of elections and the sanctity of our vote.”
The former president then repeated his lie that the election was fraudulent, a claim that has been debunked many times.
On Friday, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform released notes written in December 2020 by then-Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue. The handwritten notes described a phone call between then-president Trump and the acting attorney general at the time, Jeffrey Rosen.
According to the notes, Mr Trump pushed Mr Rosen to discredit the election he had just lost.
“Just say that the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me,” Mr Trump allegedly told him.
Democrats denounced the conversation.
“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,” Rep Carolyn Maloney, chairwoman of the Oversight Committee, said in a statement.
On Saturday, Mr Trump angrily responded, without disputing that he said what the notes recorded him as saying.
“The American People want, and demand, that the President of the United States, its chief law enforcement officer in the country, stand with them to fight for Election Integrity and to investigate attempts to undermine our nation,” he wrote. “Our country has just suffered an incredibly corrupt Presidential Election, and it is time for Congress and others to investigate how such corruption was allowed to take place rather than investigating those that are exposing this massive fraud on the American People.”
The 2020 election was not, in fact, corrupt or fraudulent. President Joe Biden won both the popular vote and the Electoral College, and Mr Trump failed in dozens of lawsuits to prove that any widespread voter fraud had occurred.