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Garland says as attorney general he would tackle domestic extremism

WASHINGTON – Justice Merrick B. Garland plans to tell senators on Monday that he will restore the Justice Department’s commitment to equal justice before the law, fight a resurgent national terrorist threat, and work to eliminate widespread discrimination if confirmed as Attorney General.

Justice Garland outlined his top three priorities in an opening statement he intends to deliver to the Judiciary Committee on Monday, when it begins confirmation hearings.

When President Biden appointed Judge Garland last month for the post of senior law enforcement official, he said the Justice Department’s struggle in the 20th century against the Ku Klux Klan showed that the struggle against the domestic terrorism and systemic racism were historically one and the same.

The fight Biden describes – “standing up to the Klan, resisting racism, tackling domestic terrorism” – exemplified the Justice Department’s commitment to protect the country’s most cherished ideals and institutions.

Justice Garland reflected that sentiment in his prepared remarks, which the Department of Justice released on Saturday night. The department was founded in the aftermath of the civil war, he will say, and the first attorney general waged a “concerted battle to protect black suffrage from the violence of white supremacists, successfully prosecuting hundreds of ‘cases against members of the Ku Klux Klan. . “

“This mission remains urgent because we do not yet have equal justice,” Judge Garland should say. “Communities of color and other minorities continue to face discrimination in housing, education, employment and criminal justice.”

If confirmed as Attorney General, Justice Garland will inherit a deeply demoralized Justice Department under President Donald J. Trump and his Attorney General William P. Barr. Mr. Trump viewed the department as hostile to him, treating him either as an enemy to be thwarted or as a power to be wielded against his political enemies.

Mr Barr’s tenure was shaped in large part by the perception that he advanced the president’s personal and political agenda to the detriment of the independence of the department, through actions such as undermining his own investigation into Russia and the Trump campaign. And his former assistants say he was reluctant to heed the recommendations of career employees in the department, especially on matters of interest to Mr. Trump.

The Trump administration was also seen as openly combative towards the ministry’s mission of upholding civil rights, as it worked to reduce civil rights protections for transgender people, dismantle affirmative action policies in admissions. at university and remove the tools used by people of color. change the rules that effectively discriminate against them in matters of housing, education and employment.

Justice Garland’s statement nods to the recent past. “The time has come to recognize the ministry’s more than 115,000 career employees,” he should say, “and its law enforcement agencies, and their commitment to the cause of justice and to the protection of the law. safety of our communities.

The statement continues: “If I am confirmed, being an attorney general will be the culmination of a career that I have dedicated to ensuring that the laws of our country are applied fairly and faithfully and that the rights of all Americans are upheld. protected. “

Several law enforcement and civil rights groups have written letters supporting Judge Garland’s appointment, and he should have the support of Republicans and Democrats.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement, the Association of Federal Police Officers and the Fraternal Order of Police said in letters submitted to the Judicial Committee that they considered the Judge Garland as a respectful officer in the work of the police.

When President Barack Obama appointed Justice Garland to the Supreme Court in March 2016, an appointment Republicans effectively blocked, he was seen as a moderate judge who used to siding with law enforcement. in its decisions.

“Throughout his tenure as federal prosecutor and federal judge, Judge Garland has demonstrated a keen legal mind, a reputation for fairness and honesty, and a respect for law enforcement officers. order, ”the Fraternal Order of Police said in its letter.

But civil rights groups have presented his track record as one that demonstrates his ability to reach consensus on thorny issues.

Justice Garland understands that this moment in our history “requires healing; and for the Department of Justice to vigorously protect the civil rights of marginalized communities, ”said the National Action Network, a civil rights organization founded by Reverend Al Sharpton.

If confirmed, Judge Garland will also head the department at a time when the threat of far-right extremism has risen sharply, a threat made incredibly clear on January 6, when militias, far-right nationalists , white supremacists, neo-Nazis and followers of the QAnon conspiracy movement stormed the Capitol.

“One hundred and fifty years after the creation of the department, the fight against extremist attacks against our democratic institutions also remains at the heart of its mission,” Judge Garland should say.

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South Dakota attorney general charged with reckless driving in death of man

The South Dakota Attorney General has been charged with reckless driving but has avoided more serious felony charges like manslaughter in connection with an accident in which he hit and killed a man with his car last September, prosecutors announced Thursday.

Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, a Republican, was also charged with using a mobile electronic device and not staying in his lane on the night of September 12, said Emily Sovell, deputy county attorney for Hyde, at a press conference. .

The three charges against Mr Ravnsborg are misdemeanors, each punishable by up to 30 days in prison and a fine of $ 500, Ms Sovell said.

Mr Ravnsborg, 44, was traveling 67 miles per hour when the Ford Taurus he was driving struck Joe Boever on the shoulder of US Highway 14 outside Highmore, SD, authorities said. Mr Ravnsborg told authorities at the scene of the accident that he believed he had struck a large animal such as a deer. It was not until the next day, authorities said, that Mr Ravnsborg returned to the scene of the crash and found Mr Boever’s body.

Prosecutors insisted that their criminal investigation into the actions of Mr Ravnsborg, elected in 2018, was impartial. They noted that South Dakota does not have a negligent homicide law, which they say makes it more difficult for prosecutors to lay charges of manslaughter in traffic accidents.

“Mr. Ravnsborg was not treated any differently than any other person would have been treated under these circumstances,” Ms. Sovell said.

Although the evidence showed that Mr Ravnsborg had used a cell phone more than a minute before the accident, the two phones he had with him were locked at the time of the accident and he was not talking to them , prosecutors said.

Mr Ravnsborg’s chief of staff on Thursday sent requests for comment to a personal spokesperson for Mr Ravnsborg, who did not immediately respond to a phone message.

In a statement to The Associated Press on Thursday, Mr Ravnsborg said: “I appreciate more than ever that the presumption of innocence placed in our legal system continues to operate.”

He added that he could not imagine the “pain and loss” of Mr Boever’s family.

The family of Mr Boever, 55, whose van was broken down in a nearby ditch, criticized the outcome of the investigation.

“I think he received preferential treatment,” Victor Nemec, a first cousin of Mr Boever, said on Thursday of Mr Ravnsborg. “This state has a long tradition of being kind to its elected officials when they commit wrongdoing. There’s a network of good old boys here in the running of the state. “

Mr Nemec said Mr Boever’s widow should take legal action against Mr Ravnsborg. Mr Boever had worked as a nurse’s aide and in a grocery store, but had recently been employed to help his cousin transport hay to his cattle ranch.

Governor Kristi Noem of South Dakota, Republican, said on twitter that it was taking steps to ensure greater transparency on the details of the investigation.

“My heart goes out to the family of Joseph Boever,” Ms. Noem said. “I will not comment on the details of Ms. Sovell’s decision. I ask the Department of Public Safety to share further details of the investigation with the public over the next week.

Prosecutors said Thursday that Mr Ravnsborg had cooperated with investigators since the day after the collision, from calling 911 to providing a blood sample the next day for toxicology testing. He also gave investigators access to his cell phones, prosecutors said.

The toxicology results showed no signs that Mr Ravnsborg was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, prosecutors said. The victim’s family asked why Mr Ravnsborg was not tested the night of the crash.

“I know that for every prosecutor there is probably a very visceral reaction to road accidents that result in death,” Ms. Sovell said. “The job of prosecutors, however, is to examine the facts, examine the evidence, apply the laws and standards they provide, and that is exactly what was done in this case.

Michael Moore, the state attorney for Beadle County, told the press conference that prosecutors could only lay more serious charges if a person was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and was driving the vehicle recklessly.

“The investigation was second to none,” said Mr. Moore, who informed Mr. Boever’s family earlier Thursday. “They obviously don’t like our decision in this case. As we all know, victims don’t make this decision.

Marie Fazio contributed reporting.

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General womens promotions delayed over fears of Trump’s backlash

“It was about timing considerations, not about women,” said Miller, who served as acting defense secretary for nearly three months, in an interview.

Had Mr. Trump been re-elected, officials said, General Milley would most likely have sent the recommendations to the White House for approval, hoping for the best. But the general and Mr Esper believed staff choices faced a smoother selection process under a new Biden administration.

Mr Biden and Mr Austin could always choose other candidates, but Mr Esper and General Milley were confident the new team would approve their selections, which had been vetted and evaluated for several months.

Colonel Dave Butler, spokesman for General Milley, declined to comment for this article.

General Van Ovost is already a four-star officer, leading the Air Force Mobility Command at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois. Of the 43 four-star generals and admirals in the US military, she is the only female. A seasoned commander and Air Force Academy graduate, General Van Ovost’s choice to head the Multi-Service Transport Command, also located at Scott Air Force Base, put his strength to good use, officials said.

General Richardson is the three-star commander of the armed component of the Pentagon’s North Command, based in San Antonio, which plays an important role in providing military assistance to FEMA’s Covid vaccination program.

“Very knowledgeable, excellent team builder,” said Anthony R. Ierardi, retired Army First Cavalry Division Commander, where General Richardson was a subordinate, in an email. “Get things done.”

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Amid sexual misconduct allegations, another Alaskan attorney general resigns

Alaska’s Acting Attorney General resigned over allegations of sexual misconduct, less than six months after his predecessor resigned following revelations he sent hundreds of text messages to an employee of the State, officials said.

Acting Attorney General Ed Sniffen “has stepped down for review as attorney general and will step down from state service,” Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy said in a statement on Friday, 11 days after Mr Dunleavy is said to have said he chose Mr Sniffen to become the permanent attorney general.

Mr Sniffen’s resignation came after his predecessor, Kevin G. Clarkson, resigned in August amid revelations from The Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica that he had sent 558 text messages in 27 days to an employee at the ‘State.

Mr. Clarkson, who was married, wrote text messages such as “You are beautiful… have sweet dreams” and “So what are you doing my sweet lady?” Mr Dunleavy had said Mr Clarkson had “admitted to engaging in conduct in the workplace which did not meet our high expectations”.

Mr Sniffen officially tendered his resignation on January 27 after the Daily News and ProPublica began asking questions about the allegations he had sex with a 17-year-old high school student from 1991, when he was 27 years old. one-year lawyer and coach of her school’s mock trial competition team.

The woman, Nikki Dougherty White, now 47, said the sexual relationship began during a trip to New Orleans for a contest and continued for about two years in Anchorage, reported ProPublica and The Daily News.

Alaska state law prohibits adults from having sex with 17-year-old teens while in positions of authority as a coach, teacher, or counselor.

A special prosecutor with experience in sex crimes, Rachel Gernat, has been appointed by Mr Sniffen’s replacement, Treg Taylor, to investigate the allegations.

Ms Gernat said on Wednesday that most sex crimes in Alaska are not subject to a statute of limitations, although that depends on the degree of the offense as well as the date of the crime.

“We have to see what the evidence provides and then compare that with the law,” Ms. Gernat said, adding that her investigation was only just beginning.

In a statement Friday announcing Mr Sniffen’s departure, Mr Dunleavy thanked him for his service and wished him good luck.

Jeff Turner, a spokesperson for Mr Dunleavy, said that when the governor accepted Mr Sniffen’s resignation he was “not aware of the allegations made against him”.

As details became known, the governor ordered Mr Taylor to appoint a special advocate to “investigate possible criminal misconduct by Mr Sniffen,” Mr Turner said.

The Alaska Department of Justice said given Mr. Sniffen’s long tenure in the department, Ms. Gernat was chosen as an outside lawyer.

Mr Sniffen had worked for the Alaska Department of Law since 2000, as Senior Deputy Attorney General in the Consumer Protection Unit, then as Chief Deputy Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General, Chief of Staff and Acting Attorney General.

Ms Gernat was a prosecutor in the Alaska Department of Law’s Criminal Division about 10 years ago, primarily focused on sex crimes, the law department said. She also served as chair of the Alaska Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault and had been retained by the Archdiocese of Anchorage to review her files of allegations of child abuse.

“She is now actively working with law enforcement on the investigation,” the legal department said.

There was no response on Wednesday to the phone numbers listed for Mr Sniffen. In his resignation letter to Mr Dunleavy on January 27, Mr Sniffen did not mention the allegations made against him.

“I am honored that you have appointed me as the Attorney General of Alaska and have enjoyed the opportunity to become the Acting Attorney General over the past six months,” he said. “After discussions with my family, and for personal reasons, I ask to no longer be eligible for the post of Attorney General and I offer you my resignation.”

Credit…Joshua Borough for The New York Times

Caitlin Shortell, an attorney for Ms White, said Ms White decided to come forward after the governor formally selected Mr Sniffen to serve as attorney general on Jan. 18 and sent his name to the Legislature for confirmation.

“She was a survivor of a crime – of child sexual abuse – and she had to get over it and recover from it, and she did,” Ms. Shortell said. “And it wasn’t until she learned that Mr. Sniffen was being named as the state’s top law enforcement official that she decided to come forward and let it be known what she had.” lived.

Ms Shortell said Ms White did not intend to take legal action against Mr Sniffen but did plan to cooperate fully with authorities and provide evidence and the names of witnesses to the police and to the special prosecutor.

The Daily News and ProPublica said four of Ms White’s former high school teammates who joined her on the trip to New Orleans corroborated key details of her account. A teammate said Ms White confided in her after Ms White and Mr Sniffen first had sex at a hotel.

When asked if sex was consensual, Ms White told the Daily News and ProPublica: ‘Yes, with the caveat that I was drunk. I was 17 and he was in a position of authority.

Ms White’s parents, Mike and Mary Dougherty, have made a statement to the Daily News and ProPublica.

“My wife and I agreed to let our then 17-year-old daughter Nikki take a school trip to New Orleans to compete in the high school mock trial national tournament because we were tricked into believing our daughter would be. well taken care of. », We read. “By his actions, the chaperone, lawyer Ed Sniffen, violated that trust.”

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The inspector general of the Ministry of Justice is opening an investigation into any effort to annul the election.

A Justice Department watchdog has opened an investigation into whether current or former officials improperly attempted to exercise the department’s powers to overturn the presidential election results, his office said Monday.

The announcement by the office of Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz followed a New York Times article that detailed the efforts of Jeffrey Clark, acting head of the Civil Division of the Department of Justice, to push the senior leaders to falsely and publicly assert this current election. fraud investigations cast doubt on the results of the electoral college. The stalemate prompted President Donald J. Trump to consider replacing then-Acting Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen and installing Mr. Clark as the head of the department to carry out the plan.

“The Inspector General is opening an investigation into whether a former or current DOJ official made an improper attempt to have the DOJ seek to alter the outcome of the 2020 presidential election,” Horowitz said in a statement.

The investigation will encompass all allegations regarding the conduct of former and current departmental employees, although it would be limited to the Justice Department because other agencies fall outside Mr. Horowitz’s jurisdiction. He said he was announcing the investigation to reassure the public that the matter is being closely scrutinized.

On Saturday, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, urged Mr. Horowitz to open an investigation, saying it was “inadmissible that a chief of Trump’s Justice Department conspires to overthrow the will of the people” .

This is the second known investigation into the actions of senior Justice Department officials in the final weeks of the Trump administration. Earlier this month, Horowitz opened an investigation into whether Trump administration officials pressured Byung J. Pak, the US attorney in Atlanta, who abruptly resigned after he became clear to Mr. Trump that he would not take steps to cast doubt on overturning the election results, according to a person briefed on the investigation.

Separately, the Senate Judiciary Committee said over the weekend that it had launched its own surveillance investigation into officials, including Mr. Clark.

Sen. Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the committee’s top Democrat, sent a letter to the Department of Justice saying he would investigate Mr. Trump and Mr. Clark’s efforts to use the agency. to advance Trump’s efforts to reverse the results of the 2020 presidential election. ”

Mr Durbin asked Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson to retain documents, emails and messages related to meetings between senior Justice Department officials, the White House and Mr Trump, as well as all communications related to Mr. Pak’s resignation.

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Pennsylvania lawmaker played key role in Trump plot to overthrow Acting Attorney General

But the plan was in line with the posture Mr. Perry had taken since November, when he began falsely claiming that there had been widespread election fraud, and throughout that time Mr. Perry remained defiant. Faced with calls to step down because of his role in efforts to overthrow the election, Mr. Perry responded in one word: “No”.

Mr. Perry, a retired Pennsylvania National Guard brigadier general and Iraq War veteran, has previously been under scrutiny for his openness to the conspiracy. He baselessly suggested that the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas by a single shooter could have been influenced by “terrorist infiltration across the southern border”. and refused to support a resolution condemning QAnon, a pro-Trump conspiracy movement. (Mr Perry said he believed the resolution violated individuals’ right to free speech and that he did not personally endorse the movement.)

One of the first supporters of the “Stop the Steal” movement,

Mr Perry was one of 126 House Republicans who joined a legal case in December to support an extraordinary trial aimed at overturning Mr Biden’s victory. And he joined more than two dozen of his colleagues in urging Mr. Trump to ask William P. Barr, the attorney general, “to investigate the irregularities in the 2020 election.”

He opposed the certification of Pennsylvania’s election results on behalf of 79 other House Republicans, although he later recognized Mr. Biden as president-elect.

The plan Mr. Perry devised with Mr. Clark sparked a crisis in the Department of Justice. When Mr Clark contacted Mr Rosen with the letter from Georgia at the end of December, Mr Rosen refused to send it, according to four former administration officials. On January 3, Mr. Clark informed Mr. Rosen that he would accept his job at Mr. Trump’s request.

As Mr. Rosen prepared to meet Mr. Trump later in the day and fight for his post, his top deputies, including Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard P. Donoghue, and his outgoing chief of staff , Patrick Hovakimian, summoned the senior leaders of the department. during a conference call, according to five former officials familiar with the call.

They told department heads that Mr. Rosen’s job was under threat because of Mr. Clark’s machinations and said they would resign if Mr. Rosen was fired. They ended the call by asking their co-workers to think in private about what they would do if this happened. Over the next 15 minutes, all of them emailed or texted Mr. Hovakimian, saying they were going to quit.

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Trump and Justice Department lawyer say they plotted to overthrow Acting Attorney General

WASHINGTON – Top Justice Department officials listened in stunned silence this month: One of their peers, they were told, had worked out a plan with President Donald J. Trump to oust Jeffrey A. Rosen as Acting Attorney General and exercise the forcible power of the Ministry. Georgia state lawmakers must overrule the presidential election results.

The modest lawyer who worked on the plan, Jeffrey Clark, had devised ways to cast doubt on the election results and to bolster Mr Trump’s ongoing legal battles and pressure on Georgian politicians. Because Mr. Rosen had refused the president’s pleas to implement these plans, Mr. Trump was on the verge of deciding whether to fire Mr. Rosen and replace him with Mr. Clark.

Ministry officials, gathered in a conference call, then asked themselves: what will you do if Mr. Rosen is fired?

The answer was unanimous. They would resign.

Their informal pact ultimately helped persuade Mr. Trump to hold Mr. Rosen in place, believing that a fury over mass resignations atop the Justice Department would overshadow any attention to his baseless accusations of electoral fraud. Mr Trump’s decision came only after Mr Rosen and Mr Clark told him about their competing affairs in a bizarre White House meeting that two officials compared to an episode of the TV show -reality of Mr. Trump “The Apprentice”, although this may cause constitutional crisis.

The hitherto unknown chapter was the culmination of the president’s long-standing efforts to get the Justice Department to push his personal agenda forward. He also urged Rosen to appoint special advisers, including one who would look into the voting systems of the Dominion, an electoral equipment maker that Trump allies had falsely said was working with Venezuela to turn over the votes. votes from Mr. Trump to Joseph R. Biden Jr.

This account of the last days of the department under Mr. Trump’s leadership is based on interviews with four former Trump administration officials who asked not to be appointed for fear of reprisal.

Mr Clark said that account contained inaccuracies but did not elaborate, adding that he could not discuss any conversations with Mr Trump or the attorneys at the Department of Justice. “Senior Justice Department lawyers provide legal advice to the White House as part of our duties,” he said. “All my official communications were in accordance with the law.”

Mr Clark also noted that he was the lead signatory on a Justice Department request last month asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to overturn election results.

Mr. Trump declined to comment. One adviser said Mr. Trump has consistently maintained that the justice system should investigate “the widespread electoral fraud that has plagued our system for years.”

The advisor added that “any statement to the contrary is false and motivated by those who wish to keep the system down.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Justice declined to comment, as did Mr. Rosen.

When Mr Trump said on Dec. 14 that Attorney General William P. Barr was leaving the ministry, some officials thought he might give Mr Rosen a brief reprieve before pressing him for electoral fraud. After all, Mr. Barr would be here for another week.

Instead, Mr. Trump summoned Mr. Rosen to the Oval Office the next day. He wanted the Justice Department to file legal briefs supporting lawsuits by his allies seeking to overturn his electoral defeat. And he urged Mr. Rosen to appoint special advisers to investigate not only the unfounded accusations of widespread voter fraud, but also Dominion, the voting machine company.

(Dominion sued pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, who inserted the charges in four federal election irregularities lawsuits that were all dismissed.)

Mr. Rosen refused. He maintained that he would make decisions based on the facts and the law, and he reiterated what Mr Barr had privately said to Mr Trump: The ministry had investigated voting irregularities and found no evidence of widespread fraud.

But Mr. Trump continued to pressure Mr. Rosen after the meeting – by phone and in person. He has repeatedly said he does not understand why the Justice Department has failed to find evidence to support the election conspiracy theories some of his personal lawyers have espoused. He said the ministry was not fighting hard enough for him.

As Mr. Rosen and Deputy Attorney General Richard P. Donoghue backed down, they were unaware that Mr. Clark had been introduced to Mr. Trump by a Pennsylvania politician and told the president he was d ‘agreement that the fraud had affected the election results.

Mr Trump quickly hugged Mr Clark, who had been appointed acting head of the civilian division in September and was also head of the department’s environmental and natural resources division.

As December wore on, Mr. Clark mentioned to Mr. Rosen and Mr. Donoghue that he had spent a lot of time reading on the internet – a comment that alarmed them as they deduced he believed to the baseless conspiracy theory Mr. Trump won. the election. Mr Clark also told them he wanted the ministry to hold a press conference announcing it was investigating serious allegations of electoral fraud. Mr. Rosen and Mr. Donoghue rejected the proposal.

As Mr Trump increasingly focused on Georgia, a state he narrowly lost to Mr Biden, he complained to Justice Department officials that US attorney in Atlanta Byung J.Pak, was not trying to find evidence of false election statements pushed by Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani and others. Mr Donoghue warned Mr Pak that the president was now obsessed with his office and that it might not be tenable for him to continue leading it, according to two people familiar with the conversation.

That conversation, and Mr. Trump’s efforts to pressure Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State to “find” him votes, forced Mr. Pak to resign abruptly this month.

Mr. Clark also focused on Georgia. He wrote a letter he wanted Mr Rosen to send to Georgia state lawmakers, falsely claiming the Justice Department is investigating election fraud charges in their state and that they should act to overturn Mr. Biden’s victory there.

Mr. Rosen and Mr. Donoghue again rejected Mr. Clark’s proposal.

On New Year’s Eve, the trio gathered to discuss Mr Clark’s refusal to draw the ministry’s conclusion that the election results were valid. Mr. Donoghue categorically told Mr. Clark that what he was doing was wrong. The next day, Mr Clark told Mr Rosen – who had mentored him while they worked together at the Kirkland & Ellis law firm – that he would discuss his strategy with the president early next week. , just before Congress is ready to certify Mr. Biden’s electoral victory.

Unbeknownst to the Acting Attorney General, Mr. Clark’s schedule has increased. He met with Mr Trump over the weekend, then informed Mr Rosen at noon Sunday that the president intended to replace him with Mr Clark, who could then try to prevent Congress from certifying the results of the electoral college. He said Mr. Rosen could remain his Deputy Attorney General, leaving Mr. Rosen speechless.

Refusing to step down without a fight, Mr Rosen said he needed to hear from Mr Trump directly and worked with White House attorney Pat A. Cipollone to call a meeting early in the evening .

Even as Mr Clark’s statement sank, mind-blowing news broke in Georgia: State officials recorded an hour-long call, published by the Washington Post, in which Mr Trump told them. pressured them to produce enough votes to declare him the winner. As the fallout from the recording ricocheted through Washington, the president’s desperate attempt to change the outcome in Georgia was highlighted.

Mr Rosen and Mr Donoghue continued to move forward, informing Steven Engel, the head of the Department of Justice’s legal counsel’s office, of Mr Clark’s latest move. Mr Donoghue called a late afternoon appeal with other senior ministry officials, exposing Mr Clark’s efforts to replace Mr Rosen.

Mr Rosen was planning to visit the White House soon to discuss his plight, Mr Donoghue told the group. If Mr. Rosen were to be fired, they all agreed to quit en masse. For some, the plan hinted at the so-called Saturday Night Massacre of the Nixon era, where Attorney General Elliot L. Richardson and his deputy resigned rather than carry out the president’s order to fire the special prosecutor who was investigating on him.

The Clark plan, officials concluded, would seriously undermine the ministry, the government and the rule of law. For hours, they sent anxious messages and called each other while awaiting Mr. Rosen’s fate.

At around 6 p.m., Mr. Rosen, Mr. Donoghue and Mr. Clark met in the White House with Mr. Trump, Mr. Cipollone, his deputy Patrick Philbin and other lawyers. Mr. Trump has asked Mr. Rosen and Mr. Clark to present their arguments to him.

Mr Cipollone advised the president not to fire Mr Rosen and he reiterated, as he had done for days, that he was not recommending sending the letter to Georgian lawmakers. Mr. Engel informed Mr. Trump that he and other senior ministry officials would resign if he fired Mr. Rosen, leaving Mr. Clark alone in the ministry.

Mr Trump seemed somewhat swayed by the idea that Mr Rosen’s dismissal would not only trigger chaos in the Justice Department but also congressional inquiries and possibly recriminations from other Republicans and deflect attention for its efforts to overturn the election results.

After nearly three hours, Mr. Trump finally decided Mr. Clark’s plan would fail, and he allowed Mr. Rosen to stay.

Mr. Rosen and his assistants concluded that they had weathered the turmoil. Once Congress certified Mr. Biden’s victory, there wouldn’t be much to do before leaving with Mr. Trump in two weeks.

They began to expire a few days later as certification from the Electoral College on Capitol Hill began. And then they received a note: the building had been violated.

Maggie Haberman contributed reporting from New York.

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Video: General Austin Becomes First Black Secretary of Defense in U.S. History

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General Austin Becomes First Black Secretary of Defense in U.S. History

The Senate confirmed General Lloyd J. Austin III as Secretary of Defense in a 93-2 vote, fulfilling a critical national security role in President Biden’s cabinet and making him the first black Pentagon chief .

“This morning the Senate will vote to confirm President Biden’s candidate for Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. Mr. Austin will be the first African American to lead the Department of Defense in its history, a powerful symbol of the diversity and history of the United States military. Mr. Austin has a rich career in the military, but those days are behind him. As defense secretary, he pledged to empower and strengthen his civilian staff. And I believe he will be an exceptional Secretary of Defense for everyone in the Pentagon, military and civilian employees. “General Austin is an exceptionally skilled leader with a long and distinguished career in the United States Army. He served at the highest echelons of the military and capped his service as the commander of the US Central Command. His character and integrity are undisputed, and he possesses the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively lead the Pentagon. “We have China and Russia with capabilities that we didn’t really expect to find ourselves with. This will therefore be the main concern of this new administration. And I can’t think of a better person to take the helm than General Austin. “The yeas are 93, the nays are two, and the nomination is confirmed. Under the previous order, the reconsideration motion is deemed to be reconsidered and placed on the table, and the Speaker will be immediately informed of any action taken by the Senate. “Hello everyone.” Journalist: “Mr. Secretary, how does it feel to be back in this building? “Nice to see you guys, and thanks for being here.” I look forward to working with you. See you soon on campus. Journalist: “What are your priorities, Mr. Secretary, at the start?”

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Video: Acting Attorney General vows to hold Capitol rioters accountable

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Acting Attorney General vows to hold Capitol rioters accountable

Jeffrey A. Rosen, the acting attorney general, said those involved in the attack on the U.S. Capitol would be held accountable and there would be no tolerance for future violent attempts to disrupt the transfer of power.

A week ago, our nation collectively watched in horror as a violent mob stormed Capitol Park, knocked down crowd control barriers, assaulted Capitol Police officers and invaded the Capitol complex. Lives were lost. The storming of Capitol Hill was an intolerable, shocking and tragic episode in our nation’s history. I am, however, grateful that order was restored on Capitol Hill the same day and that Congress was able to fulfill its duties. Under the US Constitution. More than 70 people have been criminally charged. We have opened more than 170 investigations. The FBI has assembled more than 100,000 digital public advice. And there is much more to come. Those at fault will be held responsible. As we look to the future, we are also aware of other events planned in and around the upcoming grand opening. The Department of Justice fully supports and will protect the exercise of constitutional rights. But I want to send a clear message to anyone considering violence, threats of violence, or other criminal behavior. We will have zero tolerance for any attempt to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power on January 20 that our Constitution calls for. We will not tolerate any attempt to forcibly occupy government buildings. There will be no excuse for violence, vandalism or any other form of lawlessness. To the American public, I ask that if you are aware of any planned criminal activity or violent acts, please share what you know with law enforcement or the FBI.

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Video: Biden presents candidate for attorney general on the eve of the Capitol riot

TimesVideoBiden Introduces Attorney General Candidate on the Eve of the Capitol Riot While introducing his Attorney General candidate Merrick Garland, President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has said the nation must restore independence and integrity of the Department of Justice.