The committee investigating the Capitol riot volition see recommending transgression charges against Jeffrey Clark, a erstwhile Justice Department official.
Nov. 29, 2021Updated 4:44 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON — The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 onslaught connected the Capitol moved connected Monday to statesman contempt of Congress proceedings against Jeffrey Clark, a erstwhile Justice Department authoritative involved successful President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 statesmanlike election, mounting a ballot this week connected recommending transgression charges for his refusal to cooperate with a subpoena from the panel.
The ballot would beryllium the 2nd specified confrontation betwixt the committee and an state of Mr. Trump since Congress began investigating the circumstances surrounding the Capitol riot, including the erstwhile president’s attempts to subvert the election. The House voted successful October to urge that different of Mr. Trump’s associates, Stephen K. Bannon, beryllium charged with criminal contempt of Congress for stonewalling the inquiry. A national expansive assemblage subsequently indicted him connected 2 counts that could transportation up to 2 years down bars successful total.
The House committee issued a subpoena successful October seeking grounds and records from Mr. Clark. In aboriginal November, helium appeared earlier the sheet but delivered a missive from his lawyer, Harry W. MacDougald, saying that Mr. Clark would not reply substantive questions.
The missive cited attorney-client privilege protecting Mr. Clark’s conversations with Mr. Trump and argued that the erstwhile Justice Department authoritative was “duty bound not to supply grounds to your committee covering accusation protected by the erstwhile president’s assertion of enforcement privilege.”
Mr. MacDougald besides argued successful the missive that Mr. Clark had thing to bash with the events of Jan. 6.
“He has informed maine helium worked from location that time to debar wrestling with imaginable thoroughfare closures to get to and from his bureau astatine Main Justice,” the missive said, referring to the department’s office adjacent the National Mall. “Nor did Mr. Clark person immoderate responsibilities to oversee information astatine the Capitol oregon person the quality to deploy immoderate Department of Justice unit oregon resources there.”
Neither Mr. Clark nor his lawyer responded to a petition for remark connected Monday.
Under national law, immoderate idiosyncratic summoned arsenic a legislature witnesser who refuses to comply tin look a misdemeanor complaint that carries a good of $100 to $100,000 and a jailhouse condemnation of 1 period to 1 year.
In refusing to cooperate, Mr. Bannon cited a directive that Mr. Trump sent to erstwhile aides and advisers to invoke immunity and refrain from turning implicit documents that mightiness beryllium protected nether enforcement privilege. The erstwhile president has besides sued the committee successful an effort to block the merchandise of astatine slightest 770 pages of documents related to the Capitol riot, a lawsuit that is nether information by a national appeals court.
Mr. Bannon has threatened to crook the lawsuit against him into the “misdemeanor from hell” for the Justice Department, and successful a tribunal filing connected Sunday, national prosecutors accused him and his lawyers of making “extrajudicial statements” that “make wide the defense’s existent purpose: to maltreatment transgression find to effort this lawsuit successful the media alternatively than successful court.”
At the aforesaid time, the committee is considering what to bash astir a 3rd imaginable witness, Mark Meadows, Mr. Trump’s erstwhile main of staff, who has besides refused to comply with a subpoena. The committee said that Mr. Meadows had refused to reply adjacent basal questions, specified arsenic whether helium was utilizing a backstage cellphone to pass connected Jan. 6 and the determination of his substance messages from that day.
Understand the Claim of Executive Privilege successful the Jan. 6. Inquiry
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A cardinal contented yet untested. Donald Trump’s powerfulness arsenic erstwhile president to support accusation from his White House concealed has go a cardinal contented successful the House’s probe of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Amid an effort by Mr. Trump to support idiosyncratic records concealed and the indictment of Stephen K. Bannon for contempt of Congress, here’s a breakdown of enforcement privilege:
Mr. Clark was a little-known official astatine the Justice Department who repeatedly pushed his colleagues to assistance Mr. Trump undo his predetermination defeat. The Senate Judiciary Committee said successful a caller study that determination was credible grounds that Mr. Clark had been involved successful efforts to interrupt the peaceful transportation of power, citing his connection to present a missive to authorities legislators successful Georgia encouraging them to hold certification of predetermination results.
The New York Times reported successful January that Mr. Clark besides discussed with Mr. Trump a program to oust Jeffrey A. Rosen, the erstwhile acting lawyer general, and wield the Justice Department’s powerfulness to unit authorities lawmakers successful Georgia to overturn its predetermination results. Mr. Clark denied the report, which was based connected the accounts of 4 erstwhile Trump medication officials who asked not to beryllium named due to the fact that of fearfulness of retaliation.
The Senate Judiciary Committee besides said that Mr. Clark had recommended holding a quality league announcing that the Justice Department was investigating allegations of elector fraud, successful enactment with Mr. Trump’s repeated demands, contempt a deficiency of grounds of immoderate fraud. That connection was rejected by elder leaders successful the department.
In backstage grounds earlier the Judiciary Committee, Mr. Rosen said that Mr. Clark had told him that Mr. Trump was getting acceptable to occurrence Mr. Rosen and endorse Mr. Clark’s strategy of pursuing conspiracy theories astir the hacking of voting machines and fraud.
“Well, I don’t get to beryllium fired by idiosyncratic who works for me,” Mr. Rosen said helium told Mr. Clark.
Katie Benner contributed reporting.