Jan. 6 committee recommends contempt for Trump DOJ official Jeffrey Clark

The House select committee investigating the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the US Capitol voted on Wednesday to recommend that Trump Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark be held in contempt of Congress after he declined to cooperate with the panel.

The nine-member committee unanimously adopted its report, but Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said that the panel is amenable to holding another deposition on Saturday in the wake of Clark’s legal counsel informing the panel he intends to plead the fifth so he can do so on the record.

“However, we will proceed tonight with considering the contempt report, as this is just the first step of the contempt process,” Thompson said, adding that, “This is, in my view, a last-ditch attempt to delay the Select Committee’s proceedings.”

“We will not finalize this contempt process if Mr. Clark genuinely cures his failure to comply with this subpoena this Saturday,” Vice Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) added.

If the report is approved by the lower chamber, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) would then certify it and refer it to federal prosecutors at the agency that previously served as his employer.

Rep. Bennie Thompson (Democrat of Mississippi), Chair, US House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the US Capitol,
House select committee Chairman Bennie Thompson accused Jeffrey Clark of pulling a last ditch effort to “delay the Select Committee’s proceedings.”
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The committee vote comes in the wake of Clark — who was subpoenaed in October, with the panel calling for him to provide a deposition and relevant documents to his alleged involvement in pushing DOJ colleagues to assist in unraveling the election results — having briefly appeared before the panel for a deposition earlier this month, where he declined to provide answers on his alleged involvement in the push to derail the certification of the election.

He then provided a 12-page letter defending his decision not to cooperate, with he and his lawyer opting not to reappear before the committee later in the day as scheduled.

Jan. 6 Capitol riots
The Capitol riots on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.

The panel argued that there is “credible evidence that you [Clark] attempted to involve the Department of Justice in efforts to interrupt the peaceful transfer of power” and that his actions “risked involving the Department of Justice in actions that lacked evidentiary foundations and threatened to subvert the rule of law,” asserting he could hold valuable information on the circumstances surrounding the deadly attack.

The former DOJ official reportedly sent letters to several state officials calling for them to delay certifying their results.

Former Trump Administration White House advisor Steve Bannon l
The House select committee previously recommended ex-White House Strategist Steve Bannon to be held in contempt.
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Rep. Liz Cheney
Rep. Liz Cheney hopes Jeffrey Clark “comply with this subpoena.”

Clark is the second individual that the panel has recommended be held in contempt, with the House having voted largely along party lines to recommend former White House strategist Steve Bannon be found in contempt in October.

Former President Donald Trump’s legal team has called on those subpoenaed by the panel not to cooperate as witnesses and has sought to block the release of documents to the committee, arguing that they fell under the purview of executive privilege.