An election technology company that has been the focus of consistent conspiracy theories by Donald Trump and his allies has sued the former President's lawyer Rudy Giuliani for defamation after he pushed the "Big Lie" about election fraud on his podcast and TV appearances.
Department of Justice inspector general announces investigation into 2020 presidential election
From CNN's Jessica Schneider
Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz at the US Capitol on December 18, 2019 in Washington, DC. Samuel Corum/Getty Images
Department of Justice Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz on Monday announced that the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is initiating “an investigation into whether any former or current DOJ official engaged in an improper attempt to have DOJ seek to alter the outcome of the 2020 Presidential Election,” according to a release.
The Office of the Inspector General said they were making this statement, consistent with DOJ policy, "to reassure the public that an appropriate agency is investigating the allegations."
The probe comes on the heels of reports last week from The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal that former President Donald Trump attempted to use his Justice Department to challenge the election results, an effort that included the possibility of Trump ousting then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen.
The Times said in a report published Friday that Jeffrey Clark, a lawyer for the DOJ, nearly convinced Trump earlier this month to remove Rosen and use the department to undo Georgia's election results.
Clark — who appealed to the former President's false claims of election fraud — met with Trump earlier in January and told Rosen following the meeting that the then-President was going to replace him with Clark. Clark would then move to keep Congress from certifying the election results in Biden's favor, according to the paper.
Rosen demanded to hear the news straight from Trump, the Times said, and arranged a meeting on the evening of Jan. 3 — the same day that Trump's call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, in which Trump pressured the state official to find enough votes for him to win Georgia, came to light.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called for Horowitz to launch a probe on Saturday, writing in a tweet that it was "unconscionable a Trump Justice Department leader would conspire to subvert the people's will."
Three new lawyers added to Trump’s impeachment defense, boosting team to five
From CNN’s Kara Scannell
Pete Marovich/Pool/Getty Images
With about 10 days until his second impeachment trial is set to begin, former President Donald Trump added three additional criminal defense lawyers to bring the current team to five attorneys.
Johnny Gasser and Greg Harris, two prominent South Carolina defense lawyers, have agreed to defend Trump along with Joshua Howard, a North Carolina defense lawyer.
“We’re on the team,” Harris confirmed to CNN Friday. CNN previously reported that Gasser and Harris, law firm partners, had been approached. Harris confirmed the legal team is now five attorneys but declined to comment on whether they will add additional lawyers.
Harris referred questions to Butch Bowers, the South Carolina lawyer who is spearheading the defense.
“He’s putting it together. He’s making assignments,” Harris said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do.”
Howard disclosed in a court filing that he had joined Trump’s defense, asking a judge to postpone an arraignment citing his need to be in Washington for the foreseeable future.
“Counsel for the defendant has accepted a position on the defense team handling the pending impeachment trial of former President Trump before the United States Senate. As such, counsel is obliged to spend roughly then next month in Washington, DC focused entirely and exclusively on the matter of historical and Constitutional significance,” he wrote.
Howard and Gasser could not immediately be reached for comment.
Deborah Barbier, a South Carolina litigator, joined the team earlier this week. She has worked closely on several high-profile cases with Harris and Gasser. All three are former federal prosecutors. Gasser served as the interim US attorney for South Carolina earlier in this career.