White House officials pressured a top Georgia federal prosecutor to resign ahead of the state’s high stakes Senate runoff elections because President Donald Trump was upset he wasn’t pursuing Trump’s baseless allegations of widespread election fraud strongly enough, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, reported Saturday that a senior Justice Department official called Trump-appointed US Attorney Byung J. Pak at the White House’s request. The official told Pak he needed to resign because he wasn’t investigating the allegations to Trump’s liking, the Journal reported.
The day before Georgians headed to the polls, Pak abruptly submitted his resignation, citing “unforeseen circumstances” as his reason for departure in an email to his colleagues.
The revelation marks yet another effort by Trump to attempt to pressure a Georgia government employee to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s win in the state. CNN reported earlier Saturday that the President in December urged the chief investigator for the Georgia secretary of state’s office to “find the fraud” in the 2020 presidential election, telling the individual that they would be a “national hero,” according to a source with knowledge of the call.
As CNN has previously reported, there have been no credible allegations of any issues with voting that would have impacted the election, as affirmed by dozens of judges, governors, election officials, the Electoral College, the Justice Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and the US Supreme Court.
Barry Paschale, the public affairs officer of the Southern District of Georgia, confirmed to CNN Saturday that Bobby Christine had been named acting US attorney for the Northern District of Georgia.
According to the Journal, Christine, a Trump appointee, assumed those duties in addition to his role in the Southern District, instead of the No. 2 in Pak’s office taking over in an acting capacity, as is typically the case.
Paschale declined to comment to CNN aside from confirming Christine’s appointment.
Congress formally certified Biden’s win earlier this week following a riot of the US Capitol. Following the violent attack on the capitol, Trump said in a video that “a new administration will be inaugurated on January 20.”
But in a phone call in early December, first reported by the Post, Trump had tried convincing Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp to get state legislators to overturn Biden’s win in the state.
And in a January 2 phone call obtained by CNN and first reported by The Washington Post, Trump urged Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” votes to overturn the election results.
In excerpts from that stunning one-hour phone call, Trump lambasted his fellow Republican for refusing to falsely say that he won the election in Georgia and repeatedly touted baseless claims of election fraud.
Raffensperger rejected Trump’s claims replying in part, “We believe that we do have an accurate election.”
A week before, Trump had phoned the Peach State’s chief election investigator pushing the individual to “find the fraud.”
WSJ: White House pressured Georgia federal prosecutor to resign The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ CNN.