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The plan would have replaced Rosen with Jeffrey Clark, the lawyer who led the Justice Department’s civil division. Clark would have then supported Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud and put pressure on Georgia state officials to change the election outcome.
A Justice Department official familiar with the matter confirmed to NBC News the Times’ account of Trump’s efforts.
Trump’s plan ultimately didn’t materialize after Justice Department officials agreed during a conference call that they would resign if Rosen was dismissed, according to the Times.
Trump had urged Rosen to appoint special counsels to investigate his allegations of widespread election fraud as well as the voting machine company Dominion, but Rosen refused.
Trump in December tried to pressure Georgia’s top elections investigator to “find the fraud” in an investigation of alleged ballot fraud in Cobb County, allegations which state officials found had no merit. Trump also urged Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” votes to shift the election in his favor.
In a statement to the Times, Clark categorically denied that he devised a plan to oust Rosen or provide recommendations for action based on factual inaccuracies from the Internet.
The House has charged Trump with inciting an insurrection against the government on Jan. 6 following deadly riots at the Capitol. His Senate impeachment trial is set to begin the week of Feb. 8.