Jan 25, 2021 - Politics & Policy

DOJ watchdog to probe whether officials sought to alter election results

Donald and Melania Trump walk down

Donald and Melania Trump exit Air Force One in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Jan. 20. Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

The Justice Department's inspector general will investigate whether any current or former DOJ officials "engaged in an improper attempt to have DOJ seek to alter the outcome" of the 2020 election, the agency announced Monday.

Driving the news: The investigation comes in the wake of a New York Times report that alleged Jeffrey Clark, the head of DOJ's civil division, had plotted with President Trump to oust acting Attorney General Jeffery Rosen in a scheme to overturn the election results in Georgia.

Details: Rosen reportedly refused requests by Trump to have DOJ file briefs in support of his allies' legal challenges and to appoint special counsels to investigate baseless claims of voter fraud.

  • The Times reports that Rosen was informed that the president intended to replace him with Clark, who was echoing Trump's claims of voter fraud and calling for DOJ to open an investigation.
  • The plan was reportedly called off after interventions from DOJ and White House lawyers.
  • Clark denied to the Times that he devised any plan to oust Rosen or did anything improper.

The big picture: The Trump campaign attempted to contest Biden's win for weeks after the election was called, ultimately losing dozens of lawsuits largely based on debunked conspiracy theories about widespread voter fraud.

  • In early January, Trump pressured Georgia's Republican secretary of state to "find 11,780 votes" — enough to overturn Joe Biden's win in the state — in an hourlong phone call obtained by the Washington Post.
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