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Trump, an Italian hacker and a satellite fraud

Trump, during a recent speech at the National Rifle Association assembly. / Reuters

The former president tried to fire the leadership of US prosecutors for not supporting his inconceivable theories about the existence of a plot for his defeat at the polls

Former President Donald Trump abused presidential power in order to use the Justice Department to launch a federal investigation into alleged electoral fraud, in his attempt to prevent the transfer of power to Democrat Joe Biden, winner of the US elections in November. 2021. This is clear from the fifth public hearing held by the Commission that investigates the assault on the Capitol on January 6 and that this Thursday (early morning today in Spain) has focused on the plot orchestrated by Trump to control judges and prosecutors, which even led to the forced resignation of Attorney General Bill Barr on December 14, 2020.

In the days and weeks that followed, up to January 20, when Biden was inaugurated as president, department heads endured heavy pressure from the Republican leader and his allies. However, this campaign was stubbornly rejected by the representatives of the Public Ministry, who refused to cross the line established by the law. Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, his deputy Richard Donoghue and other prosecutors put up a united front of resistance and challenged the former president with a threat to resign en bloc if he appointed another attorney general more amenable to his interest in conducting an investigation. illegitimate

At the center of this plot is Jeffrey Clark, an obscure lawyer dedicated to environmental issues, who, in the midst of the desperation of the moment, saw his opportunity to climb the ladder and set out to act as a useful ‘patch’ to save the situation of the defeated president. Armed with outlandish “Internet theories” about an alleged hacking of voting machines using smart thermostats, Clark bypassed his bosses at the Justice Department and directly asked for an interview with Trump. Through the chief of staff, Mark Meadows, Clark was summoned to a meeting with the Republican leader, whom he assured that he would launch his desired federal voter fraud investigation if he appointed him attorney general.

Alarmed by the possibility of being replaced by an official without qualifications for the position and willing to corrupt the justice system, Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen convened his team and requested an urgent meeting with Trump. This took place in the Oval Office on January 3. A Sunday. Some of the attendees came in weekend clothes. Trump took several lawyers from the White House, such as Pat Cipollone, Meadows, Clark and others of his allies.

Rosen and his team stood up to Trump and announced a block resignation of the entire leadership of the department if he appointed Clark to lead it; a moment reminiscent of the ‘Saturday night massacre’, an episode of the Watergate scandal during Nixon’s presidency, in his attempt to interfere with the judiciary to suspend the independent prosecutor who was investigating him for corruption.

Rose and his deputies Donoghue and Engel have testified before the Congressional Committee about that tense tug-of-war between a headstrong president and a department with a strong track record of asserting its independence from the White House. The three have recounted the maneuvers of the tycoon’s lawyers to try to prove the veracity of a non-existent electoral fraud, the rejection of dozens of complaints and the avalanche of demands from the president and his allies, which grew inconceivable as the days passed. . The reality seemed to fade when Trump demanded to confiscate the voting machines, assuring that an Italian hacker had manipulated them in favor of Biden through a satellite transmission. The investigation into such a plot was again negative, and the department argued that it lacked the legal authority to seize electoral equipment.

Former Assistant Attorney General Donoghue explained to Trump that the Justice Department could not interfere in a state’s elections: “If a state conducts flawed elections, it is up to the state itself or Congress to correct them.” But the president wanted something simpler, Donoghue added: “Just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the congressional Republicans,” he ordered. In those moments of utter turmoil and delirium, the Republican leader even tried one last strategy to force prosecutors to sign a letter admitting electoral corruption. His idea was to send this statement to the Republicans in Congress to mount a national scandal and call into question, at least in the media, Biden’s victory. Naturally, the idea was rejected. The president’s own attorney, Pat Cipollone, described that letter as a “murder-suicide pact” that would “harm everyone who touched it.”

Trump then responded to the leadership of the Public Ministry that the simplest thing would be to fire her and make a change in leadership. However, he was met with opposition from this group. Rosen told him that if he carried out that decision, hundreds of federal prosecutors would resign en masse. The warning had an effect: such a far-reaching gesture would prevent Trump from appointing substitutes and also draw public attention to his attempts at electoral manipulation. The outgoing president finally gave up his attempt to seize control of the department. The meeting ended late in the afternoon. Three days later, hundreds of extremists stormed the Capitol in Washington.


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