A oversight body at the Ministry of Justice has opened an investigation into whether any current or former official has improperly attempted to exercise the ministry’s powers to reverse the results of the presidential election.
The investigation, announced by the Office of the Inspector General, Michael Horowitz, came after an article in the New York Times Detailed efforts by Geoffrey Clark, Acting Head of Civic Division, Department of JusticeTo push senior leaders to assert, incorrectly and publicly, that the ongoing investigations into election fraud cast doubts on the results of the Electoral College. The confrontation prompted President Donald J. Trump to consider replacing the acting Attorney General at the time, Jeffrey Rosen, and appointing Mr. Clark as the head of the department to implement that plan.
“The Inspector General is beginning to investigate whether any former or current Ministry of Justice official has participated in an improper attempt to get the Ministry of Justice to seek to alter the results of the 2020 presidential elections,” said Mr. Horowitz in a statement.
The investigation will cover all allegations regarding the conduct of former and current Department employees, although it will be restricted to the Ministry of Justice as the other agencies do not fall under Mr. Horowitz’s remit. He said he was announcing the investigation to reassure the public that the matter was under scrutiny.
On Saturday, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York urged the Democratic leader, Mr. Horowitz, to open an investigation, saying it was “unthinkable that the Justice Department leader in Trump conspires to sabotage 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, Mr. Horowitz opened an investigation into whether Trump administration officials Inappropriately pressed Byung J. Buck, US Attorney General in Atlanta, who He suddenly quit After it became clear to Mr. Trump that he would not take any measures to question or reverse the election results, according to a person familiar with the investigation.
Separately, the Senate Judiciary Committee said this weekend that it had launched its own oversight investigation of officials including Mr. Clark.
Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, Democrat on the committee, He sent a letter to the Ministry of Justice He said he would investigate efforts by Mr. Trump and Mr. Clark to use the agency “to bolster Trump’s efforts to sabotage the 2020 presidential election results.”
Mr. Durbin requested the Acting Attorney General, Monty Wilkinson, to retain documents, emails and letters relating to meetings between senior Justice Department officials, the White House and Mr. Trump, as well as any communications related to Mr. Buck’s resignation.