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‘Pure Insanity’: Trump Election Fraud Pursuit Detailed by Panel

  • Jan. 6 hearing shows extent of Trump efforts to cling to power
  • Trump, allies chased unsubstantiated fraud conspiracy theories
Steven Engel, from left, Jeffrey Rosen, and Richard Donoghue, during a hearing in Washington, on June 23. 

Steven Engel, from left, Jeffrey Rosen, and Richard Donoghue, during a hearing in Washington, on June 23. 

Photographer: Samuel Corum/Bloomberg

Then-President Donald Trump spent the weeks before Jan. 6, 2021, flailing for ways to get the Justice Department to bolster false claims of election fraud, badgering his acting attorney general on a near-daily basis and attempting to replace him when he refused to comply.

Three former top Trump Justice Department officials including the acting attorney general, Jeffrey Rosen, testified Thursday to a relentless pressure campaign that veered into unsubstantiated conspiracy theories one of them described as “pure insanity.” The effort culminated in a heated Oval Office confrontation in which senior department leaders threatened a mass resignation.