Justice Department permits Pak to testify to congressional panels

Former Atlanta-based U.S. Attorney Byung “BJay” Pak has received the Justice Department’s permission to speak to congressional committees investigating his abrupt resignation and whether it had anything to do with attempts by President Donald Trump to interfere in the 2020 election. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: Curtis Compton

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Former Atlanta-based U.S. Attorney Byung “BJay” Pak has received the Justice Department’s permission to speak to congressional committees investigating his abrupt resignation and whether it had anything to do with attempts by President Donald Trump to interfere in the 2020 election. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: Curtis Compton

WASHINGTON — Former Atlanta-based U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak has received the Justice Department’s permission to speak to congressional committees investigating his abrupt resignation and whether it had anything to do with attempts by President Donald Trump to interfere in the 2020 election.

Pak had already said he would be willing to speak to the House Oversight Committee if he had clearance to do so after a trove of emails released in June shed new light on his final days on the job. Monday’s letter from Associate Deputy Attorney General Bradley Weinsheimer said Pak was free to speak to that panel, as well as the Senate Judiciary Committee, which could also request his testimony.

“Congress has articulated compelling legislative interests in the matters being investigated, and the information the Committees have requested from you bears directly on Congress’s interest in understanding these extraordinary events: namely, the question whether former President Trump sought to cause the Department to use its law enforcement and litigation authorities to advance his personal political interests with respect to the results of the 2020 presidential election,” the letter said.

Pak said he had no comment when reached Tuesday by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Democrats on the Oversight Committee said emails released in June indicated that Trump attempted to use federal resources and personnel to overturn the outcome of the presidential election. Georgia was among a handful of swing states that Democrat Joe Biden won, but Trump and his supporters went on a weeks-long crusade to flip the outcome.

The emails showed Trump allies in the White House and Justice Department reaching out to Pak at the same time Trump was saying Fulton County had not properly enforced signature-matching laws for absentee ballots. After three days, Pak abruptly submitted his resignation weeks ahead of his scheduled departure date.

The Wall Street Journal reported at the time that White House officials pressured Pak to resign because they did not feel he was pursuing voter fraud allegations aggressively enough.

After receiving copies of the Justice Department’s letter to Pak and five other former Trump administration officials authorizing their testimony, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the chair of the Oversight Committee, said that she expects “prompt cooperation from these witnesses.”

ExploreEmails show pressure mounting on Atlanta U.S. attorney days before he resigned