January 6 panel to propose accusing Jeffrey Clark of contempt

WASHINGTON – The House committee investigating the Jan.6 attack on the Capitol on Monday decided to start contempt of Congress proceedin...


WASHINGTON – The House committee investigating the Jan.6 attack on the Capitol on Monday decided to start contempt of Congress proceedings against Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official involved in the efforts of President Donald J. Trump to overturn the 2020 presidential election, fixing a vote this week on recommending criminal charges for his refusal to cooperate with a subpoena from the panel.

The vote would be the second such confrontation between the committee and an ally of Mr. Trump since Congress began investigating the circumstances surrounding the Capitol riot, including the former president’s attempts to overturn the election . The House voted in October to recommend that another of Mr. Trump’s associates, Stephen K. Bannon, be charged with criminal contempt of Congress to block the survey. A federal grand jury later indicted him with two counts of up to two years behind bars in total.

In early November, Mr. Clark appeared before the committee but delivered a letter from his lawyer, Harry W. MacDougald, saying that Mr. Clark would not answer substantive questions. The letter cited solicitor-client privilege protecting his conversations with Mr. Trump and claimed that Mr. Clark had “a duty not to testify before your committee regarding information protected by the assertion of executive privilege by the former president. “.

Mr. MacDougald also argued in the letter that Mr. Clark had nothing to do with the events of January 6.

“He informed me that he was working from home that day to avoid battling potential street closures to get to and from his Main Justice office,” the letter said, referring to the department’s headquarters. near the National Mall. “Mr. Clark also had no responsibility for overseeing security on Capitol Hill or the ability to deploy Department of Justice personnel or resources there.”

The committee issued a subpoena requesting the testimony and records of Mr. Clark. Under federal law, anyone called as a Congressional witness who refuses to comply can face a misdemeanor charge punishable by a fine of $ 100 to $ 100,000 and jail time of up to $ 100,000. months to a year.

Refusing to cooperate, Mr Bannon cited a directive Mr Trump sent to former aides and advisers invoke immunity and refrain from handing over documents which could be protected by executive privilege. The former president also sued the committee in an attempt to block the distribution of at least 770 pages of documents related to the Capitol Riot, a case that is under review by a federal appeals court.

Mr Bannon threatened to turn the case against him into a “hellish crime” for the Justice Department, and in a court filing Sunday, federal prosecutors accused him and his lawyers of making ” out-of-court statements “which” clarify the defense of the defense. real objective: to abuse criminal discovery to try this case in the media rather than in court.

At the same time, the committee is considering what to do about a potential third witness, Mark Meadows, Mr. Trump’s former chief of staff, who also refused to comply with a subpoena. The committee said Mr Meadows refused to answer even basic questions, such as whether he was using a private cell phone to communicate on January 6 and the location of his text messages from that day on.

Mr. Clark was a little-known official to the Department of Justice, which has repeatedly urged his colleagues to help Mr. Trump reverse his electoral defeat. The Senate Judiciary Committee said in a recent report that there was credible evidence that Mr Clark had been involved in efforts to halt the peaceful transfer of power, citing his proposal to deliver a letter to lawmakers in the state of Georgia urging them to delay certification of election results.

The New York Times reported in january that Mr. Clark also discussed with Mr. Trump a plan to oust Jeffrey A. Rosen, the former acting attorney general, and to exercise the power of the Department of Justice to force state lawmakers to Georgia to annul the results of its elections. Mr Clark denied the report, which was based on accounts from four former Trump administration officials who asked not to be named for fear of reprisal.

The Senate Judiciary Committee also said Mr Clark recommended a press conference announcing that the Justice Department was investigating allegations of electoral fraud, in line with repeated requests by Mr Trump, despite the absence evidence of fraud. This proposal was rejected by senior ministry officials.

In private testimony before the Judiciary Committee, Mr. Rosen said Mr. Clark told him that Mr. Trump was preparing to fire Mr. Rosen and endorse Mr. Clark’s strategy of pursuing theories of conspiracy on voting machine hacking and fraud.

“Well, I can’t be fired by someone who works for me” Mr. Rosen said he told Mr. Clark.

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Newsrust - US Top News: January 6 panel to propose accusing Jeffrey Clark of contempt
January 6 panel to propose accusing Jeffrey Clark of contempt
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