The Week

Colleagues shocked that ‘nerdy’ Justice Department official joined Trump’s election overthrow effort

Former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and other top Justice Department officials spent New Year’s Eve berating Jeffrey Clark, the acting head of the DOJ’s civil division, for repeatedly pushing them to help former President Donald Trump overturn his clear electoral loss and secretly meeting with Trump, The New York Times reports, citing six people with knowledge of the meeting. Rosen thought the matter was settled that night, the Times reports, but Clark continued secretly planning with Trump to intervene in Georgia, including a plot where Trump would fire Rosen and put Clark in his place.Clark has said the reporting by the Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post about his role in an effort to replace Rosen and meddle in Georgia to undo Trump’s loss is inaccurate, and he claims his discussions with Trump are shielded under “legal privileges.” Only intervention by Justice Department officials and Trump’s White House counsel, Pat Cipollone, plus the threat of mass resignations, stopped Trump from firing Rosen and elevating Clark, all three newspapers report.Even before “Clark’s machinations came to light” in the new year, it was clear from “his willingness to entertain conspiracy theories about voting booth hacks and election fraud” that Clark “was not the establishment lawyer they thought him to be,” the Times reports. “Some senior department leaders had considered him quiet, hard-working, and detail-oriented. Others said they knew nothing about him, so low was his profile. He struck neither his fans in the department nor his detractors as being part of the Trumpist faction of the party.”Clark’s friends and critics alike, the Times reports, described him as “nerdy” and “thoughtful,” a Republican lawyer and Federalist Society member with the usual skeptical view of regulations, not a operator. Now, Clark, 53, is “notorious” and unlikely to be hired back at the law firm Kirkland & Ellis, where he spent his career outside his stints in the Trump and George W. Bush administrations, the Times reports. Read more about Clark — an alumnus of Harvard, Georgetown Law, and the Biden School of Public Policy at the University of Delaware — at The New York Times.More stories from 5 scathingly funny cartoons about Biden’s COVID-19 push ‘No way’ McConnell has had a post-Trump ‘epiphany,’ political scientist says Biden foolishly low-balls America’s COVID response

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