Trump forced Justice Department to ‘just say election was corrupt,’ says former top official

The handwritten notes of former deputy deputy attorney general Richard Donoghue will be projected on a screen Thursday during the House selection committee hearing on Jan. 6.  Donoghue testified that President Donald Trump had urged him to

The handwritten notes of former deputy deputy attorney general Richard Donoghue will be projected on a screen Thursday during the House selection committee hearing on Jan. 6. Donoghue testified that President Donald Trump had urged him to

The handwritten notes of former deputy deputy attorney general Richard Donoghue will be projected on a screen Thursday during the House selection committee hearing on Jan. 6. Donoghue testified that President Donald Trump had urged him to “just say the election was corrupt”. (Photo: Demetrius Freeman/Pool/Getty Images)

The former Justice Department deputy commander said on Thursday that President Donald Trump was urging him to simply say that the 2020 presidential election he lost was “corrupt,” even though there was no basis for doing so.

Richard Donoghue, the former acting deputy attorney general, testified before the House selection committee investigating the January 6, 2021 insurgency and was asked for his notes from a December 27, 2020 conversation with Trump.

In his notes, displayed on a large screen in the conference room, Donoghue had written “Just say the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me and the R. Congressmen.”

“The president said, ‘Just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen.’ So, Mr. Donoghue, that’s a direct quote from President Trump, is that right?” asked Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), one of two GOP members on the panel.

“That’s an exact quote from the president, yes,” Donoghue replied.

Kinzinger also asked about a note in which Donoghue wrote that Trump said the Justice Department had “an obligation to tell people that this was an illegal, corrupt election.”

“That’s also an exact quote from the president, yes,” Donoghue said.

Kinzinger asked Donoghue whether the Justice Department had actually found evidence of corruption in the 2020 presidential election.

“There were isolated cases of fraud. None of them came close to questioning the outcome of an individual state’s election,” Donoghue said.

The comments came at the committee’s final hearing before June. The hearing focused on attempts by Trump and others to cast doubt on the accuracy of vote counts and the validity of votes in some states by privately pressuring Justice Department officials to believe a series of debunked claims.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.

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