CHICAGO – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today released the following statement regarding the indictment of former President Donald Trump by a Georgia grand jury for his alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election:
“In America, every person indicted or accused of a crime is entitled to a presumption of innocence and the full spectrum of rights under due process. Former President Donald J. Trump deserves no less.
“But this is not routine political fare or just another day in American politics as former President Trump would have us believe. Donald Trump stands accused of some of the most serious charges ever leveled against an American public figure.
“Former President Trump is accused of concealing top secret intelligence documents; destroying evidence; provoking a mob to storm the Capitol building and subvert the counting of votes in a Presidential election; and attempting to overturn the legally cast votes of American citizens. In the history of wrongdoing, both alleged and proven, few—if any—crimes by a public official reach this level of wrongdoing.
“Speculation on the impact of these sobering events on the current election process is dwarfed by the genuine concern every American should share on the impact this moment in history will have on the survival of our republic.”
In October 2021, the Senate Judiciary Committee released testimony and a staff report entitled, “Subverting Justice: How the Former President and his Allies Pressured DOJ to Overturn the 2020 Election.” The report and testimony revealed that we were only a half-step away from a full blown constitutional crisis as President Donald Trump and his loyalists threatened a wholesale takeover of the Justice Department.
Specifically, the report shed new light on former President Trump’s then-Acting Civil Division Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Clark’s efforts to aid the former president in repeatedly asking Justice Department leadership to endorse Trump’s false claims that the election was stolen and to assist his efforts to overturn the election. The Committee’s report was the first comprehensive accounting of those efforts, which were even more expansive and troubling than previously reported.
Based on findings from the investigation, the Committee asked the D.C. Bar to open an investigation into Jeffrey Clark’s compliance with applicable rules of professional conduct. These rules include Rule 1.2, which prohibits attorneys from assisting or counseling clients in criminal or fraudulent conduct, and Rule 8.4, which among other things prohibits conduct that seriously interferes with the administration of justice.
Specific to Georgia, the Committee’s investigation also discovered new details around Trump forcing the resignation of U.S. Attorney BJay Pak because he believed Pak was not doing enough to support his false claims of election fraud in Georgia. Trump then went outside the line of succession to appoint Bobby Christine as Acting U.S. Attorney because he believed Christine would “do something” about his election fraud claims.