Donald Trump asked intelligence officials to investigate a bizarre conspiracy theory that Chinese thermostats changed votes in the 2020 election, a new book claims.
The one-term president was said to be “intrigued” by the theory presented to him by Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, according to the forthcoming book Betrayal, by Jonathan Karl of ABC News.
Mr Clark led the DOJ’s civil division and worked with Mr Trump to cast doubt on the result of the 2020 election, which he lost to Joe Biden.
“(Clark) believed that wireless thermostats made in China for Google by a company called Nest Labs might have been used to manipulate voting machines in Georgia,” Mr Karl wrote in the soon-to-be-released book.
“The idea was nuts, but it intrigued Trump, who asked Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe to look into it.”
Mr Trump and Mr Clark came up with a plan in January 2021 to replace Jeffrey Rosen as acting attorney general and replace him with Mr Clark, then attempt to use the department’s power to force state officials in Georgia to overturn its presidential election results.
Karl’s book states that senior DOJ officials, alongside White House counsel Pat Cipollone, told Mr Trump they would all resign if Mr Clark was made attorney general.
The book says that threat forced Mr Trump to back down from the plan.
The former president was told that only he could fire Mr Clark, who Mr Trump decided to keep in his position.
“After Jeffrey Clark tried and failed to engineer a coup at the Justice Department, he kept his job,” Mr Karl said on This Week.
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