Donald Trump asked the country’s top legal official in late December about a conspiratorial draft complaint aimed at overturning the 2020 election results, according to a previously unreported account of Trump’s phone call with former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen.
Rosen persuaded Trump the lawsuit wasn’t a good idea, he told Senate investigators last weekend, two sources familiar with his testimony said. The previously unreported details underscore how hard DOJ lawyers worked to shoot down the increasingly harebrained legal strategies that reached the president’s desk.
Politico’s details of Rosen’s testimony are consistent with the Wall Street Journal reporting in January, along with the details of Texas-style litigation detailed by the New York Times in June. But a couple of additional details stand out, including this, from the Office of Legal Counsel:
So when Trump brought up the complaint on their call, the acting attorney general was ready. The complaint had circulated widely enough at the senior levels of government that the department’s Office of Legal Counsel had reviewed it and laid out legal reasons why it was a non-starter. Rosen presented some of these arguments to the president, including arguments related to standing and original jurisdiction, and he told congressional investigators that he persuaded the outgoing president to side with him.