Former acting deputy attorney general Richard Donoghue testified Thursday that, during the presidential transition, Donald Trump told him and another top Justice Department official that they should “just say that the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen.”
Last summer, CNN reported about Trump’s comments. They surfaced during a previous congressional inquiry into the former president's dealings with the Justice Department during the final months of his presidency. Donoghue cooperated with that investigation and provided a copy of his handwritten notes, which captured Trump’s comments.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican, said during Thursday's hearing that the comment demonstrated how Trump was trying to abuse and weaponize the Justice Department to cling onto power, after losing the 2020 election.
“The President wanted the top Justice Department officials to declare that the election was corrupt, even though, as he knew, there was absolutely no evidence to support that statement,” Kinzinger said.