The House committee, which is investigating January 6 riots at the Capitol in the United States, has expanded its investigation into former Trump officials as it considers remedies for those who do not cooperate.
Committee chairman rep. Bennie G. Thompson on Wednesday issued a subpoena to former Trump Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, who the panel says was “involved in efforts to overthrow the 2020 presidential election and interrupt the peaceful transfer of power.”
The panel has issued 19 subpoenas targeting former Trump officials and others involved in the “Stop Stealing” meeting that took place before the January 6 riots.
“The selection committee must understand all the details of the efforts of the previous administration to delay the certification of the 2020 election and reinforce misinformation about the election results,” Thompson, the Mississippi Democrat, said in a statement. “We need to understand Mr. Clark’s role in these efforts at the Department of Justice and learn who was involved across the administration.”
Referring to a recently released report by the Senate Judiciary Committee, the House panel claims that Mr Clark suggested that the Department of Justice send letters to certain state legislators to postpone the election certification.
Mr. Clark also recommended that senior officials in the department give the green light at a press conference announcing an investigation into allegations of voter fraud, according to the Senate committee report. Both proposals were rejected by Clark’s superior.
The House committee claims that then-President Donald Trump was considering appointing Mr. Clark as acting attorney general as a result of his efforts.
“Although he did not ultimately make the personal change, your efforts risked involving the Department of Justice in acts that lacked evidentiary basis and threatened to undermine the rule of law,” Thompson said in the lawsuit.
The House panel has requested Mr. Clark to present documents related to the case and to appear before the committee for a deposit scheduled for October 29.
Wednesday’s subpoena came the same week as the planned removal of four former officials in the Trump administration.
Former White House Chief of Staff Stephen K. Bannon and former Secretary of Defense Kash Patel have depositions scheduled for Thursday.
Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and former Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino are scheduled to appear for depositions Friday.
Mr. Trump has resisted the committee’s efforts to investigate his administration with reference to executive privilege. But his argument has been dismissed by the current White House adviser as unwarranted and “not in the best interests of the United States.”
Sir. Bannon’s lawyer, Robert Costello, sent a letter to the House panel late Wednesday stating that his client would not attend the deposition, citing the former president’s claim of privilege, which he said the committee should not yet iron out.
Costello’s letter probably did not come as a surprise to lawmakers, who last week noted that Mr Bannon had indicated he would not comply with the lawsuit.
“Mr Bannon has indicated that he will try to hide behind vague references to the privileges of the former president,” he said. Said Thompson and rep. Liz Cheney in a statement. “The select committee fully expects that all of these witnesses will comply with our requirements for both documents and delivery statements.”
It is unclear whether Mr Patel, Meadows and Scavino intend to comply with the application. In a statement last week, Mr Thomson and Mrs Cheney, the Wyoming Republican and Vice-President of the Committee, said Mr Meadows and Mr Patel were “so far in dialogue with the committee selected.”
Lawmakers in the panel have signaled that they will pursue criminal contempt for court fees for those who do not show up for landfill.
“We will not allow any witness to defy a lawful summons or attempt to run out of time, and we will promptly consider promoting a criminal contempt for congressional referral,” Thompson and Mrs. Cheney said last week.
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