As a Justice Department lawyer after the 2020 election, Jeffrey Clark drafted a letter to top Georgia officials declaring that the agency had reason to doubt the legitimacy of the state’s election only after he was pressed to do so by then-President Donald Trump, Clark’s lawyer told a skeptical federal judge Monday.
That fact alone, Harry MacDougald argued, warrants that the criminal case against Clark, who was indicted last month in Fulton County, Ga., along with Trump and 17 others in connection with their efforts to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia, should be moved to federal court.
“They say he was acting outside of his lane,” MacDougald said. “The president put it in his lane.”
U.S. District Judge Steve C. Jones appeared wary of the claim, pressing MacDougald for evidence that Trump had directed Clark to act. MacDougald did not offer any and even appeared uncertain when Jones asked him whether Clark’s draft letter was written after a meeting among him, Trump and several other senior Justice Department officials.
MacDougald described how Clark drafted the letter in his office at the Justice Department and used his DOJ email to send the document. He said it would be “simply impossible” for Clark to do what he is charged with if he were not acting as a federal official and said Trump had “ratified” his client’s conduct.