ACLU Calls for Special Counsel to Investigate Federal Crimes by Trump and Associates

Just One Day After Calling for Impeachment of President Trump, Group Seeks Accountability for Trump Efforts to Subvert the 2020 Election

January 11, 2021 6:00 pm

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WASHINGTON — The American Civil Liberties Union called on acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen today to appoint a special counsel to investigate, and if warranted, prosecute President Donald Trump, his associates, and any other federal official who may have been involved in attempts to subvert the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. The ACLU is making this call in the wake of violence at the U.S. Capitol last week.

In the nine weeks since the November election, President Trump and his associates have embarked on a multi-pronged campaign attempting to overturn the clear results, including: pressuring and threatening state and local officials to reverse election results in his favor, making knowingly false statements in an attempt to undermine the integrity and legitimacy of the 2020 election and to impugn the votes of Americans in racial minority groups, and leading his supporters in a rally on the National Mall at the very moment Congress was meeting to certify the election. After urging his supporters to go to the Capitol, a mob of supporters broke into the Capitol building and disrupted a joint session of Congress, carrying weapons, tactical gear, restraining zip ties, and, in a symbol of the white supremacy underpinning their violent acts, Confederate flags.

Taken together, these acts and others provide evidence of a sustained and concerted attempt on the part of President Trump and his supporters to overturn the results of what his own Department of Homeland Security has called the most secure election in history. The Department of Justice has an obligation to investigate whether any of these actions constitute criminal violations of federal civil rights laws, including, but not limited to, Section 241 of Title 18 of the United States Code. Such an investigation requires a special counsel to avoid conflicts of interest.

“There is little doubt that an investigation is warranted in this matter,” said Ronald Newman, national political director of the ACLU. “The right to vote is at the very core of our democracy, and it is a crime to intentionally interfere with its exercise, including the counting of votes, and President Trump took every opportunity to attack the vote. The president and his enablers must be held accountable for their efforts to subvert the November 2020 election, including for any federal crimes they may have committed.”

“D.C. is the heart of this country’s democracy, and where President Trump has been urging his followers to convene and continue his fight to overturn the election result,” said Monica Hopkins, executive director of the ACLU of the District of Columbia. “District residents deserve nothing short of a full, independent examination by a special counsel to investigate the crimes that led to this subversion of our democracy and threatened the safety of those who live and work within the District.”

By a unanimous vote on Jan. 10, 2021, the ACLU National Board voted to support the impeachment of President Donald Trump because of his pattern of bad-faith conduct designed to subvert the results of a fair and free election. This is only the third time in the 100-year history of the organization the ACLU has called for the impeachment of a sitting president.

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