According to a new report from The New York Times, then-President Donald Trump pressured "top Justice Department officials" in December of last year to declare that the 2020 election was rigged so he and his allies could bolster their efforts to have the election results overturned.
"The demands were an extraordinary instance of a president interfering with an agency that is typically more independent from the White House to advance his personal agenda," the Times' Katie Benner writes. "They are also the latest example of Mr. Trump's wide-ranging campaign during his final weeks in office to delegitimize the election results."
On Dec. 27, Trump pressed the acting attorney general at the time, Jeffrey A. Rosen, and his deputy, Richard P. Donoghue, to reinforce his voter fraud claims -- which the DOJ has already determined to be false. Donoghue told Trump that the DOJ had no power to overturn an election, to which Trump replied that he didn't expect that response, according to notes taken by Donoghue regarding the exchange.
"Just say that the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me," Donoghue's notes read.
While Trump didn't specifically name any lawmakers who were in on his plan, "he mentioned Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, whom he described as a 'fighter'; Representative Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, who at the time promoted the idea that the election was stolen from Mr. Trump; and Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, whom Mr. Trump praised for 'getting to bottom of things,'" the Times' report states.
Trump reportedly "castigated" DOJ officials for not taking his voter fraud claims seriously, telling them that "thousands" of people had called authorities to complain about the election.
"You guys may not be following the internet the way I do," Trump said, according to the notes.
Read the full report over at The New York Times.