Durbin: America Was Half-Step Away From A Full Blown Constitutional Crisis

Following eight-month investigation, Durbin speaks on Senate floor regarding Donald Trump’s scheme to pressure DOJ & overturn 2020 election

WASHINGTON – In a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, spoke about an eight-month investigation report the Senate Judiciary Committee released today titled, “Subverting Justice: How the Former President and his Allies Pressured DOJ to Overturn the 2020 Election.” Durbin said America was only a half-step away from a full blown constitutional crisis as President Donald Trump and his loyalists threatened a wholesale takeover of the Department of Justice (DOJ). The report also reveals how former Acting Civil Division Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Clark became Trump’s Big Lie Lawyer, pressuring his colleagues at DOJ to force an overturn of the 2020 election.

“Now most people say, well, we've heard most of this story before, so what's the point of it? The point of it is we were so close to a constitutional crisis at that moment that it bears continued investigation and disclosure, so the American people know that we should never be complacent when it comes to our rights as citizens and to our responsibilities to our Constitution. This President, former President Donald Trump, would have shredded the Constitution to keep his office and the presidency. There is no doubt in my mind. To think we have reached that stage in history is certainly worth reflection for a moment,” Durbin said. “I certainly hope on a bipartisan basis we can decide that the ordinary course of action with a valid, legal election deciding the future of this country is always the best route in a democracy.”

Video of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s floor speech is available here for TV Stations.

The report sheds new light on Trump’s relentless efforts to coopt DOJ into overturning the 2020 election and Clark’s efforts to aid Trump.  The Committee’s interim report is the first comprehensive accounting of those efforts, which were even more expansive and troubling than previously reported. 

Based on findings from the investigation so far, the Committee has 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. The Committee is withholding potential findings and recommendations about criminal culpability until the investigation is complete.

In January 2021, following a report from The New York Times that detailed a plot between Trump and Clark to use DOJ to further Trump’s efforts to subvert the results of the 2020 presidential election, Durbin led the Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee in a letter to then-Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson calling on him to preserve and produce all relevant materials in the DOJ’s possession, custody, or control related to this plot.  This kicked off the Committee’s eight-month investigation.  The Committee continues to seek records requested from the National Archives and Records Administration, which have not yet been supplied, and continues to pursue interviews with relevant individuals as part of this ongoing investigation.

A link to today’s report is available here.

A link to the transcripts of the Committee’s closed-door interviews with former Acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen, former Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue, and former U.S. Attorney BJay Pak is available here.