DOJ Shoots Down 'Conspiracy Theory' About Donald Trump's Hush Money Trial

WASHINGTON ― The Justice Department said Tuesday it could find no emails about Donald Trump’s criminal case between senior department officials and anyone inside the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

The department searched for the communications in response to demands from House Republicans, who have claimed Trump’s guilty verdict in his hush money trial had been orchestrated by the federal government at the behest of President Joe Biden.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland called the claim a “conspiracy theory” at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill last week, prompting Republicans to renew their demands for correspondence between the department and the Manhattan DA.

“You come in here and you lodge this attack, that it’s a conspiracy theory that there is coordinated lawfare against Trump,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) said. “And then when we say fine, just give us the documents, give us the correspondence. And then if it’s a conspiracy theory, that will be evident.”

In a Tuesday letter to Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Assistant Attorney General Carlos Uriarte said the department had searched for email communications between DOJ leadership and the DA’s office “regarding any investigation or prosecution” of Trump, and had found none.

“As the Attorney General stated at his hearing, the conspiracy theory that the recent jury verdict in New York state court was somehow controlled by the Department is not only false, it is irresponsible,” Uriarte wrote. “Indeed, accusations of wrongdoing made without—and in fact contrary to—evidence undermine confidence in the justice system and have contributed to increased threats of violence and attacks on career law enforcement officials and prosecutors.”

A spokesperson for Jordan said he is “weighing all options as to what comes next.” Republicans have laid the groundwork to hold Garland in contempt of Congress over his refusal to hand over audio of President Biden’s interview with former special counsel Robert Hur.

Republicans have claimed that all of Trump’s legal problems ― from the New York case over falsifying business records to cover up hush money payments to hide an affair, to his two federal cases for hoarding classified documents, obstructing justice and trying to steal the 2020 election ― are the result of Democrats “weaponizing” the government against their top political opponent.

At the hearing, Gaetz claimed Garland had “dispatched” a DOJ official named Matthew Colangelo to the Manhattan DA’s office to help the office nail Trump. Colangelo left the DOJ in 2022; he had previously worked with Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg in the state attorney general’s office. Republicans said the career change was suspicious.

In his letter, Uriarte said there were no emails about Trump between Colangelo and the DA’s office before or after he left.

“Department leadership did not dispatch Mr. Colangelo to the District Attorney’s office, and Department leadership was unaware of his work on the investigation and prosecution involving the former President until it was reported in the news,” Uriarte wrote.