Washington – The Justice Department's inspector general announced Monday that his office is investigating whether any former or current department officials "engaged in an improper attempt" to have the department "seek to alter the outcome of the 2020 presidential election."
"The investigation will encompass all relevant allegations that may arise that are within the scope of the [Office of the Inspector General's] jurisdiction," inspector general Michael Horowitz said in a statement. "The OIG has jurisdiction to investigate allegations concerning the conduct of former and current DOJ employees. The OIG's jurisdiction does not extend to allegations against other government officials."
Horowitz's office said it won't comment further on the probe until it is finished.
The announcement from Horowitz comes on the heels of a bombshell report from The New York Times that detailed a plan by Jeffrey Clark, the acting head of the Justice Department's civil division, and former President Donald Trump to oust acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and pressure lawmakers in Georgia to reverse the state's presidential election results. President Joe Biden defeated Mr. Trump in the state, though the former president made repeated attempts to push state elections officials there to overturn their election results.
An official with firsthand knowledge confirmed to CBS News that top Justice Department officials threatened to resign if Mr. Trump moved to replace Rosen after he declined to open investigations into alleged voter fraud in Georgia while the state conducted a recount. The former president ultimately did not fire Rosen, and his presidency ended last week with Mr. Biden's inauguration.
Clark denied to The New York Times that he crafted a plan to oust Rosen or make recommendations for action on unproven allegations of fraud.
Mr. Trump made repeated claims the election was rife with voter fraud and was stolen from him. But former Attorney General William Barr, who Rosen succeeded, told The Associated Press in December that "we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election."
Barr's last day as attorney general was December 23, weeks before a violent mob of Mr. Trump's supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to halt Congress's counting of electoral votes.
It was only after the January 6 assault on the Capitol that Mr. Trump acknowledged his loss and stopped his false claims that he, not Mr. Biden, won the election.
Andres Triay and Clare Hymes contributed to this report