Former U.S. Attorney Says Trump Wanted to Fire Him For Not Backing Election Fraud Claims

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Byung J. Pak resigned arsenic  U.S. lawyer  successful  Atlanta successful  January.
Credit...Bob Andres/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, via Associated Press

Katie Benner

  • Aug. 11, 2021Updated 9:23 p.m. ET

Byung J. Pak, a erstwhile U.S. lawyer successful Atlanta, told legislature investigators connected Wednesday that his abrupt resignation successful January had been prompted by Justice Department officials’ informing that President Donald J. Trump intended to occurrence him for refusing to accidental that wide elector fraud had been recovered successful Georgia, according to a idiosyncratic acquainted with his testimony.

Mr. Pak, who provided much than 3 hours of closed-door grounds to the Senate Judiciary Committee, stepped down with nary announcement connected Jan. 4, saying that helium had done his champion “to beryllium thoughtful and consistent, and to supply justness for my chap citizens successful a fair, effectual and businesslike manner.”

While helium did not sermon Mr. Trump’s relation successful his determination to resign astatine the time, helium told the Senate sheet that the president had been dismayed that Mr. Pak had investigated allegations of elector fraud successful Fulton County, Ga., and not recovered grounds to enactment them, according to the idiosyncratic acquainted with the statements.

Mr. Pak testified that apical section officials had made wide that Mr. Trump intended to occurrence him implicit his refusal to accidental that the results successful Georgia had been undermined by elector fraud, the idiosyncratic said. Resigning would pre-empt a nationalist dismissal.

He besides described enactment done by authorities officials and the F.B.I. to vet Mr. Trump’s claims of elector fraud, and said they had not recovered grounds to enactment those allegations.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is examining Mr. Pak’s departure arsenic portion of its broader probe into the last weeks of the Trump medication and the White House’s efforts to unit the Justice Department to falsely asseverate that the predetermination was corrupt. The Justice Department’s inspector wide is besides looking astatine Mr. Pak’s resignation.

During a telephone telephone with Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger of Georgia connected Jan. 2, 2 days earlier Mr. Pak resigned, Mr. Trump asked Mr. Raffensperger to find capable votes to reverse the state’s statesmanlike predetermination results and described fraud allegations that Mr. Raffensperger said were not supported by facts, according to leaked audio of the call.

Mr. Pak had refused to enactment akin predetermination fraud claims due to the fact that of the deficiency of evidence, according to 2 radical acquainted with his investigation. “You person your never-Trumper U.S. lawyer there,” Mr. Trump told Mr. Raffensperger during their telephone call.

Audio of that telephone was leaked to The Washington Post connected Sunday, Jan. 3, conscionable hours earlier Mr. Trump met with apical Justice Department officials to sermon the anticipation of replacing the acting lawyer general, Jeffrey A. Rosen, with Jeffrey Clark, a section person who was consenting to falsely archer Georgia officials that fraud mightiness person affected the predetermination outcome.

While Mr. Rosen and Mr. Clark argued astatine the gathering astir which antheral should pb the Justice Department and whether the section should intervene successful Georgia, Mr. Trump interjected with complaints astir the department’s authoritative decision that the authorities predetermination results were valid, according to 3 radical briefed connected the meeting. Mr. Trump yet decided not to elevate Mr. Clark, and the section did not nonstop Georgia officials a missive seeking to undermine Mr. Biden’s win.

Immediately aft the Sunday evening gathering successful the Oval Office, the Justice Department’s No. 2 official, Richard P. Donoghue, sent an email to Mr. Pak astatine 10:09 p.m. that said, “Please telephone ASAP,” according to documents that the House Oversight and Reform Committee obtained from the Justice Department and released successful June.

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During that telephone call, Mr. Donoghue relayed that Mr. Trump remained fixated connected the mendacious conception that helium had won Georgia, and said the president was aggravated that Mr. Pak did not enactment that conclusion, according to a idiosyncratic acquainted with the call.

Early the adjacent morning, Mr. Pak sent Mr. Donoghue resignation letters addressed to Mr. Trump and Mr. Rosen, effectual immediately.

Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut and a subordinate of the Judiciary Committee, said connected Wednesday that Mr. Pak had “answered each questions successful a seemingly honorable and candid way, and my content is that helium believes successful the regularisation of instrumentality and that helium stood up for it.”

Mr. Blumenthal and Senator Jon Ossoff, Democrat of Georgia, were among a fistful of committee members who listened to each of Mr. Pak’s testimony.

While the panel’s probe is ongoing, it has completed its archetypal acceptable of interviews. They included Mr. Pak, Mr. Donoghue and Mr. Rosen, who spoke with the committee for astir 7 hours and with the Justice Department’s inspector wide for astir 2 hours.

Mr. Clark has not said whether helium volition travel successful for an interview, and the committee has not indicated who other it wants to talk with. The Justice Department has said that it volition not invoke enforcement privilege if erstwhile officials are asked to attest earlier legislature investigators.

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