Revealed: White House liaison sought derogatory info on E Jean Carroll from DoJ official
The White House liaison to the Department of Justice (DoJ), Heidi Stirrup, sought out derogatory information late last year from a senior justice department official regarding a woman who alleges she was raped by Donald Trump, according to the person from whom Stirrup directly sought the information.
The revelation raises the prospect that allies of the US president were directly pressing the justice department to try to dig up potentially damaging information on a woman who had accused Trump of sexually attacking her.
E Jean Carroll, a journalist and advice columnist, sued Trump in November 2019, alleging he had defamed her when he denied her account of having been raped by him. Carroll alleges Trump sexually assaulted her in a dressing room in Bergdorf Goodman, a high-end Manhattan department store, in either late 1995 or early 1996.
Trump at the time responded to her allegations by claiming Carroll was “totally lying” and attempted to ridicule her by saying “she’s not my type”. Those and similar comments led Carroll to sue him.
Stirrup apparently believed the justice department had information that might aid the president’s legal defense in the suit. The attorney who Stirrup sought information from regarding Carroll said that Stirrup approached them not long after a judge had ruled the justice department could not take over Trump’s defense.
Stirrup asked if the department had uncovered any derogatory information about Carroll that they might share with her or the president’s private counsel. Stirrup also suggested that she could serve as a conduit between the department and individuals close to the president or his private legal team.
Stirrup also asked the official whether the justice department had any information that Carroll or anyone on her legal team had links with the Democratic party or partisan activists, who might have put her up to falsely accusing the president.
Earlier, Trump himself, without citing any evidence, suggested that his political opponents were behind the allegations: “If anyone has information that the Democratic party is working with Ms Carroll or New York Magazine [to whom Carroll first told her story], please notify us as soon as possible,” Trump said.
The official recalled “conveying to her in the strongest possible terms” that it was wrong in the first place to seek out such information, and instructed her not to do so in the future.
When it was learned Stirrup had later sought out non-public information from other justice department officials about other ongoing investigations, including around election fraud, and non-public information in regards to matters of interest to the White House, Stirrup was told she was unwelcome at the justice department and banned from the building.
On 3 December the Associated Press, citing three sources, reported Stirrup’s banning “after trying to pressure staffers to give up sensitive information about election fraud and other matters she could relay to the White House”. It has not been previously reported, however, that one of the issues that led to Stirrup’s banning was her seeking out information about the Carroll case.