The US Justice Department announced an internal probe Monday into an alleged scheme by ex-president Donald Trump to fire the attorney general as part of his campaign to overturn election results.
The department’s independent office of the inspector general said they will investigate “whether any former or current DOJ official engaged in an improper attempt to have DOJ seek to alter the outcome of the 2020 presidential election”.
The announcement came after The New York Times reported late Friday that Trump, while still president in December, plotted with a senior Department of Justice official to force out Jeffrey Rosen, then the acting attorney general, because Rosen refused to nullify the results of the November 3 election in Georgia.
Trump had alleged without evidence that sweeping fraud led to Joe Biden’s upset win in the state, helping propel him to national victory and the White House.
The Times account, later also reported by The Washington Post, said Trump worked on the plan with senior DOJ official Jeffrey Clark, who supported Trump’s assertions that the election was stolen and who would have been Rosen’s replacement.
But the plan was cut short when much of the top DOJ staff threatened to resign.
Clark categorically denied that he devised any plan to oust Rosen.
Trump, Rosen and the Justice Department have not publicly responded to the allegations.
The inspector general made clear their investigation only focused on DOJ current and former employees and did not extend to Trump, whose term ended on January 20.