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US Georgia lawyer resigns under pressure from Trump to reject election results, report says




Former President Donald Trump forced a top federal prosecutor in Atlanta to resign because he would not help Trump reverse his loss of Georgia in the 2020 presidential election, according to a US Senate report released on Thursday .

The report, written by Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, found that U.S. District Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, Byung Jin BJay Pak, resigned under pressure from the Trump White House in early January.

Pak would not justify unfounded claims that the election results in Georgia were fraudulent, according to the report.

Trump’s Attorney General William Barr has asked Pak to make investigating the allegedly illegal ballots carried in suitcases a top priority, Pak told committee investigators in a first-released interview. Thursday.

Thursday’s report was only a provisional account, released as committee investigators continue to gather evidence in their investigation into Trump’s efforts shortly after the November election to undermine President Joe Bidens’ victory.

While the findings are not final, the report adds details of Paks ousting and confirms that it was linked to his resistance to pursuing Trump’s demands to find non-existent voter fraud.

Paks’ resignation letter, submitted on January 4, made no mention of why he had left the post he had held since October 2017, although that decision raised questions at the time as it violated the Ministry of Justice succession protocol.

Bobby Christine, then United States Attorney for the neighboring Southern District of Georgia, replaced Pak on an interim basis. According to normal procedure, Paks’ principal deputy, Kurt Erskine, would have become the acting US attorney.

A never-Trumper

In a Jan. 3 Oval Office meeting, Trump complained to Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, who then replaced Barr, and Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard O’Donoghue that Pak had never been Trump, according to the report.

Trump said he’d rather Christine take over the Northern District office, which includes Atlanta, because hell is doing something about [election fraud].

Trump was unhappy that Pak, a former Republican state lawmaker Trump had appointed as U.S. prosecutor, did not support the unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud related to ballots inside State Farm Arena in Atlanta.

Rudy Giuliani, personal attorney and advisor to Trump, visited Georgia in early December to promote the theory that a video showed election officials in the arena delivering suitcases full of illegal ballots.

Barr, before stepping down as attorney general on Dec. 14, asked Pak to make investigating Giulianis’ claim a top priority, Pak told committee investigators.

US Senator Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.), And Richard J. Blumenthal, (D-Conn.) And Judiciary Committee staff were present for the Paks interview.

The office of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffenspergers quickly debunked Giuliani’s claim, instead ruling that the supposed suitcases were secure ballot boxes containing legitimate ballots.

Pak personally reviewed the arena’s video and audio and confirmed that the Secretary of State’s findings were valid, he said.

I was convinced that Mr. Giuliani’s main claim regarding the secure ballot box being a suitcase full of fake ballots, was not true, Pak told committee investigators. This has been debunked. I was satisfied with the explanation.

But Trump and some allies have continued to promote this theory and other strategies to reverse Bidens’ victory in Georgia.

On January 2, Trump called Raffensperger and asked him, during an hour-long call, to find enough ballots to change the election result.

The next day, Trump met Rosen and Donoghue and said he wanted to fire Pak, whom he called a never-Trumper who wouldn’t zealously pursue the fraud allegations.

Donoghue resisted. But when Trump canceled it, Donoghue told him Pak was planning to step down the next day anyway, although Pak actually told his colleagues that he planned to stay in office until inauguration day.

That’s good, Trump replied, according to Donoghues’ testimony. I’m not going to fire him, then. But when his resignation comes, it is accepted. Tomorrow is his last day as a US attorney.

Trump then suggested that Christine take control of the Northern District. Donoghue replied that Erskine was next in the line of succession, but Trump insisted on Christine.

Pak submitted a very bland resignation letter on Jan.4 to avoid disrupting a special U.S. Senate election the next day, he told investigators.

The committee’s report concludes that Trump’s White House has asked the Justice Department to inappropriately investigate allegations of electoral fraud, particularly in Georgia.

Mark Meadows, a former congressman from North Carolina who was Trump’s White House chief of staff, asked Rosen to investigate various discredited allegations of electoral fraud in Georgia, according to the report.

Grassley retort

After the Democrats’ report released on Thursday, U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, a senior Iowa senator and prominent Republican on the judicial panel, objected to the report and said it was justifying Trump rather than involve him.

Report focuses on Trump receiving advice from then-Justice Department civilian division chief Jeffrey Clark, outside attorney John Eastman and others to take drastic action to corrupt election results .

These steps included sacking top DOJ leaders and installing Clark, sending letters to states asking them to challenge the results, and suing the states over voter issues.

But Trump rejected the more extreme options, Grassley said.

The Democrats’ report puts a lot of effort on the part of individual lawyers to push the department to take these steps, Grassley said. But the point is, none of these steps were taken because President Trump made the final decision not to.

Representatives for Ossoff did not return a message seeking comment on Thursday. A spokeswoman for Georgian Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock also did not return a request for comment.

Both were elected in special elections on January 5, the day after Pak resigned.






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