LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A Senate Judiciary Committee report released Thursday provides greater insight into how President Donald Trump and officials in the Justice Department attempted to challenge the results of the 2020 election over unconfirmed claims of fraud.
The nearly 400-page report titled “Subverting Justice” highlights actions and conversations from the end of December 2020 to the beginning of January 2021 about how the former president and at least one high-level DOJ official attempted to remain in office, even though results showed then-President-Elect Joe Biden had won.
The Nevada Legislature passed Assembly Bill 4 in the summer of 2020 amid the pandemic requiring all Nevada counties to send every registered voter a mail-in ballot. The large increase in the number of mail-in ballots is listed as an area of concern for the Trump administration.
Even though Biden won the presidency, Nevada Republicans gained seats in the Assembly and state Senate in the 2020 election. About half of all ballots cast in the election came through the mail.
The report details the former president urged the Justice Department to file a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court to rule elections in six states, including Nevada, were unconstitutional.
“The proposed action asked the court to declare that the six states administered the 2020 presidential election in violation of the Constitution’s Electors Clause and Fourteenth Amendment; declare that the Electoral College votes cast by the electors in the six states were in violation of the Electors Clause and Fourteenth Amendment; enjoin the states from using the 2020 election results to appoint electors; and authorize the states to conduct a special election to appoint new electors,” the report, released from the Democratic-ruling committee, said. “In short, Trump asked DOJ to petition the Supreme Court to overturn the election results.”
The draft brief, which was never filed with the court, highlights Assembly Bill 4 and the fact that Biden’s margin of 91,000 votes in Clark County “significantly exceed[ed] his statewide lead.”
The draft brief also cites Clark County’s use of a signature-verification machine that was also the topic of several state-level election lawsuits. A state judge in December found no state law barred Clark County from using the machine to handle the influx of mail-in ballots.
In addition, the judge noted lawyers for the former president found no evidence that the way Clark County was using the machine “resulted in any fraudulent ballot being validated or any valid ballot invalidated.” The judge also said the machine is used in other communities, many larger than Clark County, including Cook County, Illinois, home to Chicago. He noted the contestants did not file any complaints about the machine before or after the June 2020 primary.
Ballots that the signature-verification machine rejected were flagged for a multi-human verification process, according to court documents obtained by the I-Team in December. If the signature was rejected after this multi-process review, the voter could come to cure their ballot.
No court, including the Nevada Supreme Court, found allegations of widespread voter fraud in Nevada to be credible. Even Attorney General Bill Barr, a Republican, said there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the election.
Biden won the election in Nevada by more than 33,000 votes statewide.
Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, also a Republican, has repeatedly said her office found no evidence of widespread voter fraud in Nevada. A ballot review earlier this year found 10 possibly deceased voters had ballots cast in their names, a report said, citing data from the Office of Vital Statistics.
Five people in Clark County voted twice, officials said last year. The allegations, including a handful of possible double votes, are all under investigation. Earlier this year, state Republican Party leaders voted to censure Cegavske, accusing her of failing to fully investigate allegations of fraud.
Thursday’s report also highlights a DOJ lawyer’s attempt to intervene in the election results. Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark repeatedly raised doubts about the election, writing a draft letter to be sent to officials in Georgia and other swing states claiming the Justice Department had found “significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election in multiple states,” the report said.
According to another Justice Department official interviewed as part of the committee’s investigation, Nevada was on the list of six states meant to receive the letter addressed to state legislatures and governors suggesting they hold special legislative sessions.
The report, which contains copies of the draft letter, said it would have asked state leaders to appoint a new set of electors.
The second-in-command at the Justice Department responded in an email with the draft, “There is no chance that I would sign this letter or anything remotely like this,” the report said.
In the end, the proposed letter was quashed. Even if it had been sent to Nevada’s officials, the Democratic-controlled Legislature and Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, would have taken no action.
The interim report was released eight months into the committee’s investigation into the former president’s actions and the DOJ.
“The committee is withholding potential findings and recommendations about criminal culpability until the investigation is complete,” a statement said.
Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, the committee’s ranking member, said in a statement that Republicans on the committee came to different conclusions.
“The transcripts of this investigation speak for themselves, and they paint a very different picture from the left’s claims that the former president weaponized the Justice Department to alter the election results,” Grassley said in a statement. “The available evidence shows that President Trump did what we’d expect a president to do on an issue of this importance: he listened to his senior advisors and followed their advice and recommendations.”
The minority report said pressure to send the draft letter to states did not come directly from Trump.