On Dec. 28, 2020, Jeffrey Clark, a Trump loyalist within the Justice Department, drafted a letter pushing officials in Georgia to hold a special session of the state legislature and investigate supposed “irregularities” in the 2020 election. Clark collaborated on the letter with Ken Klukowski, another Justice Department lawyer and a legal analyst for far-right media outlet Breitbart.
The letter was never sent to Georgia officials but was shared internally within the Justice Department to acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue. Although the letter focused on Georgia, Clark’s emails to Rosen and Donogue suggested that this was part of a wider strategy as he wanted to share a similar letter with “each relevant state.” Clark also wrote “Personally, I see no valid downsides to sending out the letter…I put it together quickly and would want to do a formal cite check before sending but I don’t think we should let unnecessary moss grow on this.”
Clark is known to have played a key role in the Justice Department during the final weeks of the Trump Administration. According to media reports, Trump turned to Clark for assistance to devise legal theories to block Biden’s win after being introduced to the lawyer by Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa). Trump had considered installing Clark as acting Attorney General, replacing Rosen. However, Trump decided to refrain from doing so after he was warned by Rosen and White House Council Pat Cipollone that such a move would lead to mass resignations across the Justice Department and the wider administration.
In July 2022, Clark faced ethics charges from the D.C. Court of Appeals Board on Professional Responsibility over his drafting of the letter.
January 6, 2021
- Clark is under investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington which is looking into actors who played a role in the Jan. 6 insurrection. He was the subject of a pre-dawn raid on his home in June 2022, with law enforcement seizing his electronic devices.
- In September 2022, reports suggested that Clark might be charged with a crime for his role in the fake electors scheme, following Ken Klukowski’s cooperation with law enforcement.
The Big Lie
- The letter falsely stated that the Justice Department has “significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election in multiple States, including the State of Georgia.” This was despite the fact that the Justice Department had already concluded that there was no evidence of fraud which could change the election outcome.
- Donoghue responded to Clark’s letter by stating “There is no chance that I would sign this letter or anything remotely like this. While it may be true that the Department ‘is investigating various irregularities in the 2020 election for President’ (something we typically would not state publicly) the investigations that I am aware of relate to suspicions of misconduct that are of such a small scale that they simply would not impact the outcome of the Presidential Election.”