Durbin cites Trump's direct, personal involvement with DOJAugust 8, 2021
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin said Sunday that an ongoing congressional investigation of President Donald Trump's last days in office has found him to have been deeply involved with the Justice Department in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election.
Appearing on CNN's "State of the Union" a day after former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen testified privately before a congressional panel, Durbin, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he had learned “how directly, personally involved the president was, the pressure he was putting on Jeffrey Rosen.”
“It was real, very real. And it was very specific,” the Illinois Democrat said.
“This president's not subtle when he wants something, the former president. He is not subtle when he wants something. And I think it's a good thing for America that we had a person like Rosen in that position, who stood — withstood the pressure.”
Durbin said that Rosen appeared voluntarily and was “very open” during his seven hours of testimony.
“It really is important that we ask these questions, because what was going on in the Department of Justice was frightening, from a constitutional point of view,” Durbin said. “To think that Bill Barr left, resigned after he had announced he didn't see irregularities in the election, and then his replacement was under extraordinary pressure from the president [of] the United States, even to the point where they were talking about replacing him.”
Asked if what he was describing was an attempted coup, Durbin told CNN host Dana Bash, “Well, it was — they were going through the ordinary process.”
“It isn't as if the president was removing the attorney general and making pronouncements, which would happen in a coup, I suppose, by classic definition,” Durbin added. “But it was leading up to that, that kind of process.”
Durbin declined to discuss any of the specifics of Saturday's testimony, but said he hopes other former Trump administration officials will also testify, voluntarily or under subpoena.
“It takes a bipartisan vote to subpoena. I don't know that we're going to be able to accomplish that,” Durbin said. “People think the mighty Senate Judiciary Committee can just send out the subpoenas and off we go. It's much more constrained.”