- A Trump-appointed DOJ official asked his superiors to look into “foreign election interference issues.”
- Newly released emails reveal Jeffrey Clark claimed China had changed voter ballots using thermostats.
- Clark also urged Georgia to investigate voter irregularities, despite DOJ stating there were none.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Jeffrey Clark, a Justice Department official appointed by former President Donald Trump, told senior officials that China used thermostats to change ballots in the 2020 presidential election.
In a recently released email originally sent December 2020, Clark asked his superiors – including acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen and deputy Richard Donoghue – to look into “foreign election interference issues.”
Clark claimed hackers had evidence that “a Dominion machine accessed the Internet through a smart thermostat with a net connection trail leading back to China.”
He said he hoped to use information gathered by US intelligence to determine whether the thermometers could make digital contact with voting machines in the United States.
The emails were obtained by the House Oversight Committee and first reported by ABC News.
Several days later, Donoghue vehemently shot down his request, ABC News reported.
“There is no chance that I would sign this letter or anything remotely like this,” Donoghue said. “While it maybe true that the Department ‘is investigating various irregularities in the 2020 election for President’ (something we typically would not state publicly) the investigations that I am aware of relate to suspicions of misconduct that are of such a small scale that they simply would not impact the outcome of the Presidential Election.”
In recent weeks, Clark has emerged as one of the key figures who sought to advance Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election.
Trump made Clark acting assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s civil division in September 2020, and according to the New York Times, the two later plotted to oust Rosen and appoint Clark as acting attorney general.
As Insider previously reported, Trump had told Justice Department officials on December 27, including Rosen and Donoghue, to “just say that the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me.”
A recently released email sent by Clark from December 28 revealed he had attempted to use the power of the Justice Department to intervene in Georgia’s election.
Clark had written to his superiors and asked them to convene a special session of the state legislature to investigate baseless claims of voter fraud.
His colleagues at the Justice Department ultimately refused, stating they had found no evidence of widespread fraud, which matches the conclusion reached by media outlets, election watchdogs, and investigative arms. This has been known even before Congress certified now President Joe Biden in January. Still, Trump and other Republican lawmakers continued to hammer the unsubstantiated theory that the election was stolen.
Clark made the comments about the Chinese thermostats in an email accompanying this exchange.
The accusation that China intervened in the 2020 election has been widely debunked, despite continued allegations from prominent Trump supporters.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a declassified report in March that concluded that China considered meddling in the 2020 presidential election but did not end up doing so.
US intelligence kept China, as well as Russia and Iran, on its radar for potential election interference, but the report found China “sought stability in its relationship with the United States.” The country also “did not view either election outcome as being advantageous enough for China to risk getting caught meddling,” the report says.
Clark hasn’t yet been scheduled to testify before the House Select Committee, the bipartisan group put together to investigate the Capitol riot on January 6.