The top officials of the Department of Justice and the White House removed Attorney General Jeffrey Clark during a high-Oval Office meeting in early January 2021, when then-President Donald Trump considered appointing Clark as Attorney General so he could use the Department of Justice’s powers to to overthrow the election in 2020.
“I pointed out that Jeff Clark is not even competent to serve as Attorney General. He has never been a criminal lawyer. He has never conducted a criminal investigation in his life. He has never stood before a large jury, much less a trial jury, ”said former Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue in a video clip played Thursday, recalling what he told Trump during the critical Oval Office meeting.
Donoghue said he told Clark, “You’re an environmental lawyer. How about you go back to your office and we’ll call you when there’s an oil spill.”
White House Attorney Eric Herschmann said Clark was repeatedly “crushed over the head” during the meeting. He said he explicitly told Clark he was breaking the law, according to his videotaped clarification with the committee, a clip of which was played Thursday.
“F * ck a hole, congratulations, you just admitted that your first step or action you would take as a state’s attorney would be to commit a crime,” Herschmann said.
Herschmann later testified that he thought Clark’s plan was “emergency” and told the panel he told Clark, “the best I can tell you is the only thing you know about environmental and election challenges, they both start with E. And based on your answers tonight, I’m not even sure you know. ”
According to Donoghue, then-White House lawyer Pat Cipollone said during the meeting that Clark’s plan to send letters to states on the battlefield urging them to meddle in the election result was a “murder-suicide pact.”
During the Oval Office meeting, these officials beat Clark’s ideas, even as he kept trying to explain to Trump that he would expose widespread fraud if he was put in charge of the Justice Department. These officials successfully persuaded Trump to withdraw from the plan to fire then-Justice Secretary Jeffrey Rosen and promote Clark.