• Show Notes

Dear Reader,

A great deal has been written about the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, but one episode that has not received the attention it deserves is an event that occurred three days earlier, when our nation came dangerously close to experiencing what surely would have been dubbed the “Sunday Night Massacre.”

Testimony and records provided to congressional committees lay out the dramatic events of the evening of Jan. 3, 2021. An Oval Office meeting with President Donald Trump had been scheduled for 6 p.m. at the request of acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen. That meeting would turn out to be a pivotal moment in our nation’s history. 

At 3 p.m. that day, another Department of Justice official, Jeffrey Clark, had told Rosen that he – Clark – would be replacing him as acting attorney general. Clark said he had been meeting privately with Trump, a direct violation of DOJ policy limiting contact with the White House. Clark was advancing a baseless strategy, which Rosen had repeatedly rejected, to contest the presidential election. Like his predecessor William Barr, Rosen had found no evidence of widespread voter fraud, a conclusion over which Barr had resigned. Now, it appeared, if Rosen would not weaponize the Department to advance Trump’s efforts to subvert the election, Trump would simply replace Rosen with someone who would.