There was no authorized foundation to appoint a Justice Department particular counsel to examine voter fraud in 2020, regardless that President Donald Trump demanded it, a high division official testifiThursday.
Steven Engel, who was the head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, which offers authorized recommendation to the govt department, described the saga in testimony to the Jan. 6 choose committee.
“It was not legally available,” Engel mentioned.
CNN and different information retailers reported in December 2020 that Trump had floated the thought of naming Sidney Powell as a particular counsel, however that was met with vital pushback from senior White House officers. Powell is a widely known conspiracy theorist who represented former Trump adviser Michael Flynn throughout his legal trial, and has promoted fantastical and false theories of huge voter fraud.
The committee performed a deposition clip of Powell describing Trump’s need to appoint her to the put up.
“He asked me to be special counsel to address the election issues and to collect evidence and he was extremely frustrated with the lack of, I would call it law enforcement, by any of the government agencies that are supposed to act to protect the rule of law in our republic,” she mentioned in the video.
Then-Attorney General Bill Barr refused to appoint a particular counsel, and after Barr resigned in December 2020, Trump continued urgent high Justice Department officers to title a particular counsel, together with Barr’s successor, Jeffrey Rosen, who additionally refused.
“Neither Barr nor Rosen believed (a special counsel) was appropriate or necessary in this case,” Engel mentioned.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican, who has been main a lot of the questioning on Thursday, condemned Trump for even contemplating a particular counsel.
“An investigation led by a special counsel would just create an illusion of legitimacy and fake cover for those who want to object” to the 2020 election, “including those who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6,” he mentioned.