In a court hearing regarding the de-barment of Jeffrey Clark, who played a key role in former President Donald Trump’s attempt to challenge the outcome of the 2020 election, former Deputy White House Counsel Patrick Philbin confessed to leading the resistance against the effort by organizing a mass resignation threat to undermine the president.

Just days before January 6th—when Congress was scheduled to certify the results of the 2020 election in Biden’s favor—Trump began to put into motion a plan to replace the Department of Justice head with Jeffrey Clark, a lower-level DOJ official who was expected to halt the process in Trump’s favor.

It was at this point that Philbin called up Clark to try to convince him otherwise. In his testimony—the first public testimony he has offered since the Capitol riot—Philbin explained that he had worked alongside Clark in private practice during the 1990s.

“I tried to explain to him that it was a bad idea for multiple reasons,” Clark said at the hearing. “He would be starting down a path of assured failure … If by some miracle somehow, it worked, there’d be riots in every major city in the country and it was not an outcome the country would accept.”

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Both Philbin and former acting deputy attorney general Richard Donoghue, who gave testimony just before Philbin, argued Clark had succumbed to conspiracy theories.

Philbin went into his conversations with Clark viewing him as woefully misinformed about the 2020 election, and dangerously naïve regarding the aftereffects that would be caused by contesting the outcome.

“I believe that he felt that he essentially had a duty,” Philbin said. “I think Jeff’s view was that there was a real crisis in the country and that he was being given an opportunity to do something about it.”

Philbin then claimed at least partial credit for orchestrating the threat of mass resignation to resist Trump’s appointment of Clark. Taking his cue from a similar effort under the Bush administration, Philbin fanned the flames of rebellion to DOJ through acting attorney general Jeff Rosen. Almost every major DOJ official put up threats to resign, which influenced Trump to ultimately give up on the contest.

Philbin then called Clark again to inform him about the mounting discontent. “We talked about some of the theories of fraud that were around. They’d been debunked and there wasn’t really any there-there,” Philbin said. “If the president made him acting attorney general … people at DOJ would probably resign, there’s going to be just a massive wave of resignations. People weren’t going to be following him to pursue these theories of fraud.”

Philbin said he would have resigned had it come to that point. “It was not a course of action that I could countenance,” he explained. “I thought there was not a justification for it. It was a sufficiently bad idea and unjustified interference with the completion of the Electoral College count. I wouldn’t want to be there in the White House any longer participating in that.”

Shane Devine is a writer covering politics, economics, and culture for Valuetainment. Follow Shane on X (Twitter).

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