You may have seen headlines in the MSM about Trump last Friday, claiming that he had pressured the DOJ to declare the election ‘corrupt’ even though they had found no widespread election fraud. As the Federalist points out today, that’s not exactly how it went down:
On Friday, The New York Times claimed it had obtained the handwritten notes from a post-election meeting between then-President Donald Trump and acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue. Those notes, according to the Times, reveal that when Donoghue “warned that the department had no power to change the outcome of the election,” Trump “replied that he did not expect that.” “‘Just say that the election was corrupt + leave he rest to me’ and to congressional allies,” the Times reported Donoghue’s handwritten notes as stating.
However, a review of the notes from that December 27, 2020 meeting, provided by the Biden administration to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform and posted on the latter’s webpage, expose the Times as once again a purveyor of fake news.
While the Times claimed the above exchange occurred during a phone call in which Trump “pressed” Rosen and Donoghue “on voter fraud claims that the department had disproved,” the “just say that the election was corrupt” comment came in an entirely different portion of the discussion, the handwritten notes establish.
Trump’s comment on declaring the election ‘corrupt’ was in response to the DOJ saying they would investigate the Pennsylvania election, but telling Trump that no matter what they found, they couldn’t change the outcome of the election:
That comment followed Donoghue’s assurance that the department would “look at whether there were more ballots in PA than registered voters.” Donoghue’s commitment to investigate this potential fraud came in response to Trump’s earlier assertion that Pennsylvania had only 5 million voters in the state, but there were 5.25 million votes casts.
“Clearly fraud,” the handwritten notes show Trump saying to the two top DOJ officials, while Donoghue added his own commentary, of “possibly true?” in a parenthetical.
Then, after telling Trump the DOJ would look at whether there were more ballots cast in Pennsylvania than registered voters, Donoghue noted they “should be able to check on that quickly but understand that the DOJ can’t + won’t snap its fingers + change the outcome of the election, doesn’t work that way.”
It was in response to that statement that Trump said “[I] don’t expect you to do that, just say that the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me and the R. Congressmen.”
This context changes everything. Trump didn’t tell his acting attorney general and deputy AG to ignore the department’s conclusion that there was no fraud and to instead announce to Americans that the election was corrupt, leaving it to him and his “congressional allies” to overturn the results of the election. Rather, Trump wanted the DOJ to make that announcement following confirmation that more ballots were cast in Pennsylvania then there were registered voters.
In other words, Trump wasn’t asking the DOJ to do anything but investigate. And IF they found significant fraud, then to just declare the election corrupt and not worry about trying to overturn the election results, which they can’t do.
As the Federalist says, the NY Times reporting was nothing but fake news.