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Trump tries (and fails) to defend urging the Justice Dept to lie

What's amazing about the former president's response to the Justice Department revelations is that it failed to include anything resembling a denial.

According to materials released late last week by the House Oversight Committee, Donald Trump had a meeting of great historical significance on Dec. 27, 2020. Desperate to overturn the results of the election he lost, the then-president privately urged Jeffrey Rosen, his acting attorney general, and his deputy, Richard Donoghue, to declare that the election was corrupt.

The Justice Department's top two officials at the time knew there was no evidence to substantiate such an assertion, but Trump nevertheless pressed Rosen and Donoghue to lie.

"Just say that the election was corrupt [and] leave the rest to me" and to the White House's Republican allies in Congress, Donoghue wrote in his notes, quoting Trump.

The day after the materials reached the public, the former president issued a statement responding to the revelations, insisting that from his perspective, they don't show him "attempting to overturn the election."

"In fact, it is just the opposite. The documents were meant to uphold the integrity and honesty of elections and the sanctity of our vote. The American People want, and demand, that the President of the United States, its chief law enforcement officer in the country, stand with them to fight for Election Integrity and to investigate attempts to undermine our nation."

Trump proceeded to lie some more, arguing that the election was "incredibly corrupt." He added a day later that evidence to substantiate his claims will be "coming out in the very near future." (Perhaps we should expect the proof in two weeks?)

What's amazing about the former president's response to the revelations is that it failed to include anything resembling a denial. Justice Department materials documented Trump's efforts to push officials to lie about election corruption, as part of his scheme to hold power he didn't earn, and the Republican's response is to effectively argue that he considers his lie to be true.

Ergo, he believes there's no real controversy.

That's not how reality works. If you're caught suborning perjury, and a prosecutor files charges, you won't get away with it by arguing, "It's OK, I like to believe that the lies are true."

As for GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill, congressional Republicans have said practically nothing about the new evidence that a former sitting president urged the Justice Department to lie.

If they intend to defend Trump, they'll have to do better than he did in coming up with some kind of plausible defense.