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Emails show how President Trump’s team scrambled to overturn election results

House Democrats say they have new evidence of former President Donald Trump's efforts to remain in power after the 2020 election. As part of an investigation into the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, Democrats gained access to emails that show Trump and his staff pressured top Justice Department officials last December to file an election lawsuit in the Supreme Court. John Yang reports.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives say they have new evidence of former President Donald Trump's efforts to remain in power after losing the 2020 presidential election.

    It is part of an investigation into the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

    John Yang is back with this report.

  • Donald Trump:

    Frankly, we did win this election.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

  • John Yang:

    A new layer in what's known about former President Trump's effort to overturn the 2020 election, a trove of more than 200 pages of documents unearthed by investigators in the House of Representatives.

  • Donald Trump:

    So, we will be going to the U.S. Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop.

  • John Yang:

    Democrats on the House Oversight Committee say they now have e-mails that show Trump and his staff pressured top Justice Department officials last December to file a lawsuit in the Supreme Court, in an attempt to nullify the 2020 election.

    In one e-mail, a Trump White House official sent an entire draft lawsuit to then acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen for the Justice Department to use to throw out election results in six states.

    "The president asked me to send the attached draft document for your review," the official wrote to Rosen and other senior Justice Department officials on December 29.

    Rosalind Helderman of The Washington Post:

  • Rosalind Helderman, The Washington Post:

    And it's incredibly unprecedented the notion that the president of the United States is pressuring his own Justice Department to intervene in an election that he lost to help him overturn it. It's like nothing, frankly, we have seen in American history.

  • John Yang:

    Other documents show White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and senior Trump aides directly e-mailed Rosen, urging him look into various unsubstantiated claims of election fraud, including a conspiracy theory about military satellites in Italy altering vote totals.

  • Rosalind Helderman:

    You're looking at, New Year's Day, a course of just a few hours, and the president's chief of staff is trying to get the top law enforcement agency in the country to look into wild allegations, one after another.

  • MAN:

    Four more years!

  • John Yang:

    This came at the same time as Trump's previously reported calls to election officials in Georgia and other states, urging them to throw out valid votes.

    Trump also was in direct contact with a top DOJ official who was applying pressure from inside the department to overturn the election.

  • Rosalind Helderman:

    One thing that you can really see in these documents is just how close we got. The president was trying as hard as he could to get his Justice Department to intervene to help him overturn the election.

    And it was just the work of a few top officials who refused and said that they would resign in the face of this pressure that democracy was, frankly, saved.

  • John Yang:

    For now, the House committee is continuing to investigate, seeking interviews with four former Justice Department officials and former White House Chief of Staff Meadows.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm John Yang.

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