A DOJ IG Investigation Is Insufficient to Investigate Trump’s Attempt to Get DOJ Help to Steal the Election

As many news outlets are reporting, DOJ’s Inspector General Michael Horowitz is opening an investigation into whether any former or current DOJ official helped Trump try to overturn an election.

The DOJ Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is initiating an investigation into whether any former or current DOJ official engaged in an improper attempt to have DOJ seek to alter the outcome of the 2020 Presidential Election.  The investigation will encompass all relevant allegations that may arise that are within the scope of the OIG’s jurisdiction.  The OIG has jurisdiction to investigate allegations concerning the conduct of former and current DOJ employees.  The OIG’s jurisdiction does not extend to allegations against other government officials.

The OIG is making this statement, consistent with DOJ policy, to reassure the public that an appropriate agency is investigating the allegations.  Consistent with OIG policy, we will not comment further on the investigation until it is completed.  When our investigation is concluded, we will proceed with our usual process for releasing our findings publicly in accordance with relevant laws, and DOJ and OIG policies.

This is welcome news, but nowhere near as big a deal as people are making out. That’s true for several reasons. First, while DOJ IG will have access to internal DOJ communications, DOJ IG cannot compel testimony of former employees. So if Jeffrey Bossert Clark — or any of the sources leaking anonymously with no threat of legal consequences — don’t want to cooperate with this inquiry, they can avoid doing so.

More importantly, as Horowitz notes, his office’s jurisdiction, “does not extend to allegations against other government officials.” He can’t investigate Scott Perry, the GOP Congressperson who was reportedly involved in this, he can’t investigate Pat Cipollone, who reportedly sided with others at DOJ to undercut Trump’s efforts, and he can’t investigate Trump himself.

Still, it will serve one welcome purpose. As I noted in this post, one way to get investigations into Trump conduct started without appearing as if Joe Biden’s DOJ has it in for Trump is to start them with Inspectors General. A year from now, DOJ IG will likely produce a report showing improper behavior from Clark (probably because he went around his superiors, not for any good legal reason), while noting that he was unable to get further cooperation. That could provide predicate for opening an investigation into the Former President.

37 replies
  1. subtropolis says:

    I hope it doesn’t take a year. I’d think that something like this is deserving of the appointment of a special counsel, in any case.

    • timbo says:

      Why does it need a special counsel? Is that because Biden was the actual target of the conspiracy? Askin for a friend…

  2. skua says:

    The Trump presidency was clearly a slow motion trainwreck from very early on.
    DoJ personel, possessing of any foresight and sufficient intellectual integrity to resist Trumpism, would have prepared for a post-disaster investigation.
    Horowitz has long understood the need for IGs to have greater power. This will be an opportunity to publicize that need. And Horowitz might well also meet the above criteria.
    In these circumstances an enquiry might produce a well documented result, or a intrim report, quicker than normal.

  3. Peterr says:

    He can’t investigate Scott Perry, the GOP Congressperson who was reportedly involved in this, he can’t investigate Pat Cipollone, who reportedly sided with others at DOJ to undercut Trump’s efforts, and he can’t investigate Trump himself.

    No, he can’t launch investigations into these people, but he can certainly take note of their actions, memos, etc. that come up in the course of investigations into various DOJ employees into whom he can launch an investigation.

    For instance, if Horowitz decides to look into the dramatic about-face in the sentencing recommendations in the Michael Flynn case because it was seen as an attempt to buy Flynn’s silence or to keep further discussion of acts by 2016 Trump campaign officials out of public view which would hurt the prospects of the 2020 Trump campaign, all kinds of unwelcome materials might come to light.

    • BobCon says:

      House Ethics can and should dig into what the hell Perry was doing and share it with DOJ.

      There is no reason this needs to be single tracked, or sequential.

      • timbo says:

        The House should open a full investigation into this thing and start subpeoning folks ASAP. Right now they’re relying no the Senate to impeach Trump… but what laws are they going to enact to prevent this sort of nonsense from happening again? And why wouldn’t they want to subpeona folks to find out specifically how this all went down…I mean, just so they can enact laws that will be clearer than the previous ones about what is and is not acceptable… And short of that, what the F is the DOJ going to do to follow up on the seeming violations of the Hatch Act, etc. On top of that, shouldn’t the House investigate how and why the Emoulements clause seems to not actually exist in the mind of the majority of so-called justices on the Supreme Court?

        • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

          I wish; the current house leadership has not learned the lesson that there is no such thing as too many committee hearings into wrongdoing. Unlike benghazi there is actual meat on this bone, but I don’t expect much out of most of the committees. Oversight might be good but even then they are hamstrung by the lack of funding for staffers and the hearing format.

          Is that an actual picture of Horowitz? I don’t want to mock the guy if he had a mouth or jaw injury but he looks like a Batman villian.

  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    It will also remind the new AG that the DoJ’s attorney discipline procedures need considerable reform. Professional bodies in many disciplines are often miserable at disciplining their ranks, often leaving the prominent among them – unlike hoi poloi – to do as they please. The DoJ should become an exemplary way of how to do it better.

    • bmaz says:

      As you undoubtedly remember, the DOJ-IG has no jurisdiction over attorneys in the Department, only the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) does. They are professional whitewashers, and even when they find cause, that is often whitewashed by someone above like David Margolis did for decades.

      Yeah, this broken system should be fixed.

    • bmaz says:

      The investigation is ongoing as we speak. “A year from now” is when a report might be ripe. Though that may be fast for Horowitz.

  5. Rapier says:

    I mean no disrespect but that’s already past. Not to be ignored or abandoned, but…… Maybe it is just me but a significant plurality of GOP congress critters and elected officials everywhere are probably wishing they had an off ramp but fear violence against themselves and their families.

    Tell me I am wrong.

    • timbo says:

      Okay. You”re generally wrong. Specifically in this case, the jury is still out?

      Re: “I mean no disrespect but that’s already past.” lol.

  6. Vinnie Gambone says:

    Forty years ago we had rampant apathy. Today there’s a climate of run away hyper-ventilated opinion. This is Germany in the 30’s, huge swaths of the populous feeling defeated, gypped, unrepresented, full of disdain, living on a daily diet of disparagement. Is this the worm turning ? Confederacy of Dunces? Worried for that half of my countrymen so deluded, so full vehemence, senseless, but powerful enough to control their every political thought. Poor bastids. They’re making themselves sick. They’re making themselves crazy. Can we work on anti delusion vaccine after covid ?

    • timbo says:

      “Rampant empathy”? WTF are you talking about? Was this before or after the Reagan CIA made it policy to assassinate teachers in Central America?

      • Vinnie Gambone says:

        Apologies Timbo. WTF I am talking about is the over all mindset/ interest of the average American in politics and world affairs. With the advent of computers and instant “news” everybody and their mother now seems to have an opinion on politics. Not all, but many many more than 40 years ago. I didn’t know anything at all about CIA assassinations. I’ll look it up. TY. My comment was an personal observation about people I know, and commentary I see on places like FB (ugh). If there was no internet would there be any proud boys ? More people are tuned in now than were 40 years ago. Unfortunately too many are tuned into the zone filled with shit.

  7. Ada says:

    A few days ago I remembered a press conference from November or December 2020 where Mike Pompeo gave an evasive answer about whose inauguration was going to take place on January 20, 2021. At that time I interpreted his attitude as being a smart-ass. After January 6, 2021 I changed my opinion and I started seeing his attitude as dubious. I might be wrong, but I have the feeling that he had some knowledge about what Trump and his acolytes were planning. In my opinion he should be investigated as well.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        Pompeo has been keeping his profile suspiciously low for weeks. He is an opportunist who is surely planning his next move, keeping his options open, burning none of the rotten bridges he built. I too have been wondering lately who, if anyone, has trained their sights on him. He’s just the kind of careerist who might slide through this unscathed. Let’s scathe him.

    • timbo says:

      It took too many people too long to cotton on to Pompeo. He’s gotten away with this sort of crap in the wings for decades now. If you’re pro-democracy, best to stop looking to Pompeo for anything other than what’s good for his own rise to power. He became CIA chief and Secretary of State under Trump because he wanted to have power, as much power as possible, for himself. He also should be impeached. And I’d be curious to see too if not more people in the Senate were interested in that!

  8. Buford says:

    I don’t understand why there is not a “9/11” type of investigation? Our nation was almost taken over by a dictator….doesn’t that deserve a full on investigation, from top to bottom?

    • timbo says:

      There’s almost certainly going to be one into the handling of the pandemic itself at some point. And, frankly, there may be more meat on that bone since, gee, hundreds of thousands of us died because of Twitler and the incompetency of the past decade when it comes to being prepared for a real pandemic event. I mean, I agree with you that there should be an investigation directly into the Twitler regime completely independent of the pandemic… but it seems to me that that’s really up to the DP… which seems to have not had much desire to actually clean up the corruption that threatens us all… other than the obvious continuing deaths from the pandemic, of course.

  9. skua says:

    Here is a clear statement of how electors are being messed over by the current system around funding politicians. (via Judd at Popular Information 1/25/21)
    ” I can tell you that, you know, [the PAC] plays an important role, not because the checks are big, but because of the way the political process works. Politicians in the United States have events, they have weekend retreats. You have to write a check, and then you’re invited, and you participate.

    So, if you work in the Government Affairs team in the United States, you spend your weekends going to these events. You spend your evenings going to these dinners, and the reason you go is because the PAC writes a check. But out of that ongoing effort, a relationship evolves and emerges and solidifies.

    And I can tell you, as somebody who sometimes is picking up the phone, I’m sometimes calling members and asking for their help on green cards, or on visa issues, or help to get an employee or family member who’s outside the United States, or on the issues around national security, or privacy or procurement reform, or the tax issues that our finance team manages.

    And I can tell you there are times when I call people who I don’t personally know. And somebody will say, “Well, you know, your folks have always shown up for me at my events, and we have a good relationship, let me see what I can do to help you.” – Microsoft President Brad Smith to MS employees on 1/21/21.

    This is no surprise at all – but here is very high level confirmation that elected reps time is taken up doing favors for corporations and high wealth individuals who donate. Sure reps and senators can chew gum and walk at the same time. But once they’re chewing on gum from 300 corporate donors and the elite then there will be much less shoe-leather spent on their constituents – only so many hours in a week.

Comments are closed.