Trump wanted the Justice Department to sue individual states to overturn their election results, but top officials refused, WSJ report says




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  • Trump wanted the Justice Department to sue states directly in the Supreme Court to overturn the election results.

  • DOJ officials refused, prompting Trump to plot to replace the acting attorney general with a loyalist.

  • That effort was foiled by DOJ leaders when some threatened to resign if Jeffrey Rosen was removed.

  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump wanted the Department of Justice to file lawsuits in the Supreme Court against specific states in an attempt to overturn their election results, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal.

DOJ officials refused, prompting Trump to plot to remove the acting attorney general and replace him with a loyalist. The plot was blocked when a group of top DOJ leaders threatened to resign if acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen was removed.

Trump's idea to sue states was pushed by his personal lawyers, The Journal reported.

"He wanted us, the United States, to sue one or more of the states directly in the Supreme Court," a former administration official told The Journal.

DOJ officials refused to file the case, determining that there was no legal grounds and that "the federal government had no legal interest in whether Mr. Trump or Mr. Biden won the presidency," according to The Journal.

The DOJ did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

Read more: Trump didn't pardon himself. Here's the massive tsunami of legal peril that now awaits him.

Trump and his allies pursued dozens of legal challenges in the wake of the election in an attempt to overturn the results based on unsubstantiated claims of mass voter fraud. The Trump campaign and Republican officials filed lawsuits across battleground states, but virtually none of the challenges held up in court.

Trump's own Justice Department, and ally Attorney General Bill Barr, said in December it had found no evidence of widespread voter fraud that would've affected the election outcome.

The Journal said the effort to sue states directly was ramped up after the Supreme Court on December 11 dismissed a lawsuit filed by Texas' attorney general Ken Paxton in an attempt to overturn the results in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Georgia.

On the night of the election during a speech where he falsely claimed victory, Trump threatened to go to the Supreme Court over the election, though it was unclear why or on what legal basis he planned to do so.

When Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg died in September and Trump and Republicans were determined to fill her seat, Trump also suggested the election would be decided in the Supreme Court, though again it was unclear what exactly he thought would constitute litigation.

Trump successfully nominated and appointed Justice Amy Coney Barrett, making her the third Trump-appointee on the bench alongside Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, solidifying the court's conservative majority with a 6-3 split.

After the Texas case was dismissed, Trump blasted the Supreme Court in a tweet, saying "no wisdom, no courage!"

Read the full report at The Wall Street Journal

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