Former President Donald Trump hounded the Department of Justice to pursue his false fraud claims following the 2020 U.S. Presidential election.

According to testimony Thursday to the committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 riot, he strived to enlist top law enforcement officials in his desperate bid to stay in power. He relented only when he was warned in the Oval Office of mass resignations, reported the Associated Press.

Three Justice Department officials of the Trump-era recounted badgering from Trump. It included directives to chase baseless allegations that the 2020 election won by Joe Biden had been stolen. The officials said that they swept aside each demand from the former President because there was no evidence of any fraud.

Then they banded together when Trump weighed whether to replace the department’s top lawyer with a lower-level official who was eager to help undo the election results. Meanwhile, Republican loyalists in Congress trumpeted Trump's claims. Later several sought pardons from the White House after the effort failed and the U.S. Capitol was breached in a day of deadly violence.

The fifth Jan. 6 hearing by the committee investigating the assault on the Capitol, made clear that Trump’s pressure campaign targeted statewide election officials. His own executive branch agencies were also targeted. The Jan. 6 hearing focused on a tumultuous time at the Justice department after the departure of Attorney General William Barr in December 2020. He drew Trump’s ire with his public proclamation that there was no evidence of fraud that could have changed the results of the election.

Barr was replaced by Jeffrey Rosen, who said that for soon after taking the job, he either met with or was called by Trump almost every day. He said that the common theme was “dissatisfaction that the Justice Department, in his view, had not done enough to investigate election fraud.”

Richard Donoghue, another top official who testified Thursday, said that Trump presented the department with an “arsenal of allegations,” none of them true. But still, Trump prodded the Justice department to seize voting machines, to appoint a special counsel to investigate fraud allegations and to declare the 2020 election corrupt.

Meanwhile, Trump, who spends summers at his Bedminster golf club, is said to be a TV guy, so the televised hearings hit him where it hurts, reported The Guardian. He has reportedly been glued to them, and has not liked what he has seen so far. The committee has presented a case against Trump as the leader of a failed coup.

He is said to be livid that there is no one in the room to speak up for him. He “has tuned into every hearing” and has grown increasingly irate – to “the point of about to scream at the TV”, said a close adviser – with what he views as the “lack of defense by his Capitol Hill allies."

He also praised supporters who rioted at the U.S. Capitol. Trump told filmmaker Alex Holder that they are smart. According to him, they see and they saw what happened, and he believes that "that was a big part of what happened on Jan. 6.”

Holder also described an October 2020 incident when an interview he had scheduled with the former President was canceled because he was on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Independent reported that the substance of their conversation is so far not known.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaking is shown on a screen during the Jan 6 panel's second hearing
A video of former U.S. President Donald Trump speaking is shown on a screen during the second hearing held by the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol on June 13, 2022 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The bipartisan committee, which has been gathering evidence related to the January 6, 2021 attack at the U.S. Capitol for almost a year, is presenting its findings in a series of televised hearings. On January 6, 2021, supporters of President Donald Trump attacked the U.S. Capitol Building in an attempt to disrupt a congressional vote to confirm the electoral college win for Joe Biden. Photo by Jabin Botsford-Pool/Getty Images

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