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US Justice Department watchdog to probe if officials improperly tried to alter 2020 presidential election

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WASHINGTON (REUTERS) – The US Justice Department’s internal watchdog on Monday (Jan 25) said his office was launching an investigation on whether current or former department officials made an “improper attempt” to seek to alter the results of the 2020 presidential election.

The announcement by Inspector General Michael Horowitz came after the New York Times reported earlier that Jeffrey Clark, the department’s acting assistant attorney general for the Civil Division, had plotted with President Donald Trump in a failed attempt to oust then-Attorney General Jeff Rosen so that he could launch a probe of alleged voter fraud in Georgia.

Clark, the Times reported, was sympathetic to Trump’s “Stop the Steal” campaign, and he met with Congressman Scott Perry of Pennsylvania to discuss a plan to have the Justice Department send Georgia a letter disclosing the department would investigate the election results.

The plot was foiled, however, after other senior leaders in the department threatened to resign if Clark was appointed acting attorney general.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz said in a statement that his probe will encompass “all relevant allegations that may arise,” but that it will be limited what role, if any, current or former department officials may have played.

His office, he added, does not have jurisdiction to investigate other government officials outside of the Justice Department.