“He told us a lot of things, seven hours of testimony. And I might add quickly: It was done on a bipartisan basis – Democratic staff and Republican legal staff asked questions during this time, ”said Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois. CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” panel interview with former DOJ official.
“It’s really important that we ask these questions, because what was happening in the Department of Justice was constitutionally frightening,” he added. “To think that (former Attorney General) Bill Barr is gone, resigned after announcing that he saw no irregularities in the election, then his replacement came under extraordinary pressure – the President of the States -United, to the point even that they were talking about replacing him, that pressure was there. ”
Rosen and Richard Donoghue, the Acting Assistant Attorney General from late December 2020 until the end of former President Donald Trump’s tenure, provided the panel with detailed accounts of a tumultuous time in late December and early January during which a senior Justice Department attorney has sought to deploy departmental resources to in support of Trump’s bogus election fraud allegations, according to a familiar source.
Pressed by Bash on what Rosen revealed during his testimony before the Senate committee, Durbin said he could not yet release any details, but that “in the end there will be a report.”
Rosen met with the committee for over six hours on Saturday, while Donoghue met with them for about five hours on Friday, the source said, adding that Rosen also met with Justice Department Inspector General investigators on Friday.
Rosen spoke of numerous interactions with Jeffrey Clark, a Trump-appointed DOJ environmental law chief, but much of his testimony was on five episodes in which Clark stepped out of the chain of command to push allegations of fraud. This included the January 3 meeting at the White House where Trump had the two men compete for the post of attorney general before deciding not to replace Rosen with Clark.
Asked by Bash whether Trump tried to get Rosen to overturn the election results, Durbin replied, “It wasn’t that blunt, but he was asking him to do some things related to the state election results, this that he refused to do. ”
“He was invited by the White House, the leaders of the White House, to meet some people who had these crazy and bizarre theories as to why this election was not valid. And he refused to do so, ”the president said.
Rosen and Donoghue both told investigators they were unsure whether Clark was acting at Trump’s behest or orchestrated a plot he concocted himself. The men testified that in their interactions with Trump, he did not order them to do anything illegal and ultimately accepted their advice that the Justice Department could not take action to invoke fraud then that he had no proof.
The Durbin committee had previously contacted Clark for an interview, even before Rosen and Donoghue spoke with its members, and his team is still in discussions with the panel, according to a person familiar with Clark.
The senator told Bash on Sunday that he would like Clark to testify, but said he was not sure the lawyer would be ready for questioning.
“We’re going to do our best to get Mr. Clark to come and tell the story from his perspective,” Durbin said. “(Attorney General) Merrick Garland opened the door and said, ‘We waive any privilege here. He can therefore decide for personal reasons or for other reasons why he does not want to testify. But I hope he will. “
This story has been updated with additional reports.
CNN’s Evan Perez and Katelyn Polantz contributed to this report.