Senator Sheldon Whitehouse joined Joy-Ann Reid on MSNBC to discuss the explosive reporting about Jeffrey Rosen, Trump's Acting AG, meeting with both the DOJ Inspector General and the Senate over the last few days to discuss absolutely crazy behind the scenes scheming by one of Trump's toadies, Jeffrey Clark, in the frenzied last few weeks before President Biden was officially inaugurated. The little the public already knows is shocking. I cannot begin to imagine what the Senate and IG are hearing behind closed doors that the public is not privy to.
In doing so, Rosen pointed the finger at this guy, Jeffrey Clark, a Trump loyalist and member of the Conservative Federalist Society who was then serving as the Acting Head of the DOJ's Civil Division. The New York Times reports that Rosen told investigators that Clark admitted to meeting with Trump and pledged that he would not do so again. Yet Clark still continued to press colleagues to make statements about the election that they found to be untrue. Additionally, Rosen discovered that Clark had been engaging in unauthorized conversations with Trump about ways to have the Justice Department publicly cast doubt on President Biden's victory. This comes after we learned that Clark had tried to send a letter to officials in Georgia pressing them to nullify the will of the voters. Separately, we've learned from Congressman Krishnamoorthi that he drafted a letter for six states. Given how close Trump came to usurping power and what amounts to an actual coup, the question now is whether he and his enablers will be held accountable.
WHITEHOUSE: Well, the Committee rules, unfortunately, keep me from describing anything I learned in that room. But clearly with the public reporting that's already out shows something that ought to be of really grave concern and that is a scheme involving a junior subordinate within the Department of Justice to basically try to roll the senior members of the Department into taking action to provoke election returns to be reversed in a whole variety of swing states. and I think that's pretty clear from the proposed letter that the subordinate drafted.
It's a matter of public record that that letter is out there and it's also a matter of public record that this guy was the confirmed head of the Environment and Natural Resources Division, which doesn't have a whole lot of say over elections and he was just acting as the Civil Chief. but again, no role in elections. So peculiar for a subordinate Senate confirmed to the E & R position to be messing around proposing ideas to the Acting Attorney General and particularly proposing really pretty preposterous ideas like this one.
REID: Did you in sitting through that, even if you can't give us the specifics of what you heard, in your view how close did we come to what amounts to a coup d'etat? If you have the President of the United States attempting through a subordinate or an ally in the Justice Department looking to overturn as many as six states' elections and then that is followed by a violent insurrection that has the same purpose, how close in your view did we come to seeing our -- essentially our Democracy thrown out the window this year?
WHITEHOUSE: I think pretty damn close. I think we've got a lot of work to do to figure this out. so far we know from January 6th a lot of what happened in the building as the assaulters attacked the Capitol to disrupt the election. And we know a lot here of what happened in the building as a subordinate tried to cook up a plan with the White House to trigger states to overturn the election. What we don't know is who was behind those things and were there connectivities between who was asking or telling the subordinate, Jeffrey Clark, what to do and who was organizing, supporting, orchestrating the assault on the Capitol. There's a lot that we need to know. we're only looking at the surface right now in the Capitol of who went into the building, who the trespassers were. Nobody has been charged who had any kind of a role who was not in the building, who might have been an organizer or a conspirator. Same here, we're going to have to look behind the protagonists or I should say behind the bit players to see who the architects of the scheme were.
REID: Let me play one of your colleagues on the other side of the aisle, Chuck Grassley, defending Donald Trump meeting with Jeffrey Clark. Take a listen.
(CLIP) The president has every right to discuss ideas and strategies with his closest advisers. The president. Whether that president is Democrat or Republican should feel unrestrained to bring ideas to his closest staff for robust discussion.
REID: To be clear as a matter of civics, I love talking with you about civic stuff. The Attorney General of the United States is not a political advisor to the president of the United States, right?
WHITEHOUSE: And to be even more clear, the subordinate down in the Department of Justice who is Senate confirmed to E & R is certainly not one of the president's closest advisers. I don't know if he'd ever been to meet with the president until this episode.
REID: And also, planning an insurrection and overthrow of our Democracy is actually not advice, it's insurrection. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse --
WHITEHOUSE: And it's a bit telling when the people in the chain of command get left out along the way. That's quite weird.
Senator Whitehouse nails it. We need to know who was behind this. Who organized bus rides? Who paid for transportation and hotels? Who encouraged and riled up these insurrectionists? That is who needs to be charged. Ali Alexander? Roger Stone? Mo Brooks (already facing a lawsuit by Eric Swalwell, natch)? Donald Trump? Ivanka? Junior? FOX News? OANN? Newsmax? Ginni Thomas (wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas)? Every single person, entity and organization involved needs to be investigated and charged.