Jan. 6 Panel Unanimously Votes to Hold Trump-Era DoJ Official Jeffrey Clark in Contempt of Congress
00:26 GMT 02.12.2021 (Updated: 23:42 GMT 03.12.2021)
Back in November, Jeffrey Clark, who served as Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division from 2018 to 2021, and his attorney argued to the House Select Committee that certain legal privileges granted him immunity from answering various questions associated with the deadly January 6 riot on the US Capitol.
With a unanimous vote, the House Select Committee has moved in favor of holding Jeffrey Clark criminally accountable for his failure to cooperate with the panel's probe.
The former DoJ official will appear before the Select Committee on Saturday, December 4, and will be given the opportunity to invoke his Fifth Amendment right to avoid incriminating himself via testimony. Clark has signaled that he will appear to enter his plea.
"As legislators charged with finding truth about an attack on our democracy and sworn to support and defend the Constitution—we put Mr. Clark on our witness list ... he refused to cooperate," read a statement issued by Select Committee Chair Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS).
"Mr. Clark has left us no other choice," the statement concluded.
The Select Committee is set to convene at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday to prep the resolution recommending the House find Clark in criminal contempt of Congress.
Speaking to reporters, Select Committee member Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) declared that the 9-person panel's probe into the "violent assault" on the US Capitol "is not a game."
She noted that any communications former US President Donald Trump had in the days surrounding the January 6 event will be parsed by the panel.
Cheney declared that if Trump "persists in lying, then he will be accountable under the laws of this great nation and subject to criminal penalties."
In an October letter issued to Clark
, the Select Committee asserted that its probe revealed credible evidence that he tried to involve the DoJ in efforts to block a peaceful transfer of power between administrations.
Prior to that, a nearly 400-page report produced by the Senate Judiciary Committee
claimed that Clark repeatedly violated the DoJ-White House contacts policy when he met with Trump on multiple occasions in late 2020.
Clark, being both a US Senate-confirmed assistant attorney general for the DoJ's Environment and Natural Resources Division and an assistant attorney general for the DoJ's Civil Division, was prohibited from meeting with the US president without prior authorization.
The report claimed that Clark proposed the delivery of a letter to Georgia state lawmakers and other government officials to push for a delay in the certification of 2020 election votes. He also recommended a news conference in which the DoJ would announce a probe into allegations of widespread voter fraud, despite the lack of evidence supporting this.
Clark is not the first to be charged in relation to the January 6 riot, as the panel recommended that conspiracy theorist Steve Bannon, a former adviser of Trump, be referred for criminal prosecution after he failed to appear before the Select Committee back in October.
21 October 2021, 20:10 GMT