DOJ leaders vowed to resign when White House aides started calling Trump loyalist Jeff Clark the acting attorney general, January 6 testimony reveals

·2 min read
Jeff Clark and Jeff Rosen
Jeff ClarkYuri Gripas-Pool/Getty Images
  • Call logs show the Trump administration referred to Jeffrey Clark as "Acting Attorney General."

  • Clark was a loyalist who embraced former President Trump's unfounded claims of election fraud.

  • The call logs were revealed Thursday by the congressional committee investigating January 6.

Jeffrey Clark, whose home was raided this week by federal law enforcement, was referred to as the "acting attorney general" in call logs at the Trump White House, the congressional committee investigating the January 6 insurrection revealed Thursday.

Clark, an environmental lawyer, had attracted former President Donald Trump's attention by embracing his false conspiracy theories about the 2020 election — and apparent willingness to use the Department of Justice to lend those claims institutional credibility.

Clark, a former top DOJ official who served as head of its environmental division, never advanced to lead the department. But on January 3, his promotion was seen as a done deal, according to White House call logs obtained by congressional investigators.

"As far as the White House was concerned, Mr. Clark was already at the top of the Justice Department," Rep. Adam Kinzinger said Thursday.

The plan to install Clark was thwarted only by a threat of mass resignations, according to former Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue.

"They would resign en masse if the president made that change," Donoghue said of other top DOJ officials, testifying Thursday before the January 6 committee. "All without hesitation said they would resign."

At a subsequent White House meeting with top DOJ officials that day, Trump made the case for appointing Clark, who had drafted a letter to Georgia alleging mass voter fraud in the state. "What do I have to lose?" he asked, per Donoghue.

"It was actually a good opening because I said, 'Mr. President, you have a great deal to lose,'" Donoghue said. "And I began to explain what he had to lose, and what the country had to lose, and what the department had to lose — and this was not in anyone's best interest."

Everyone at the meeting agreed, per Donoghue.

"At some point the conversation turned to whether Jeff Clark was even qualified — competent — to run the Justice Department," Donoghue said. "In my mind, he clearly was not."

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