On January 6, 2021, supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gathered outside the Capitol and the police used tear gas to clean the building.
Stephanie Keith | Reuters
The House Special Committee investigating the congressional riots on January 6 summoned former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark on Wednesday on the grounds that he tried to undermine the post-election transfer of power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden.
The House panel stated that Clark was the former acting assistant attorney general of the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. He was summoned to provide documents and appeared in court on October 29 to testify.
The committee stated in a letter that it found “credible evidence” that Clark tried to involve the DOJ in “work to interrupt the peaceful transfer of power.”
The committee’s latest subpoena was issued five days after announcing that it may soon refer former Trump adviser Steve Bannon for criminal contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with his own subpoena. Bannon is scheduled to testify in court on Thursday.
Bennie Thompson, chairman of the special committee, stated that investigators need to know “all the details of the previous government’s efforts to postpone the certification of the 2020 election and expand misinformation about the election results.”
“We need to understand Mr. Clark’s role in these efforts of the Department of Justice and understand the people involved in the entire government. The Special Committee hopes that Mr. Clark will fully cooperate with our investigation,” Thompson said.
Jeff Clark, Assistant Attorney General of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, speaks at a press conference at the Washington Department of Justice on September 14, 2020.
Susan Walsh | AFP | Getty Images
The letter to Clark cited a large number of reports from the Senate Judiciary Committee in which he occupies a prominent position, titled “Subverting Justice: How the former president and his allies forced the Department of Justice to overthrow the 2020 election.”
According to the report, Clark proposed that the Department of Justice write to Georgia and the other swing states that Biden has won, urging them to consider changing the list of presidential electors based on “sworn evidence of election violations.”
According to the Senate report, the draft letter recommends that if “the election fails to make appropriate and effective choices”, the legislatures of these states convene special meetings to “take any necessary actions.”
Clark’s proposed letter was emailed to the then acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen and his deputy Richard Donohue on December 28, and they immediately rejected it. According to the report, Donohue wrote back saying: “It is impossible for me to sign this letter or anything similar.”
According to reports, the three officials then met in person for an intense meeting. Clark said at the meeting that Trump is considering changing the leadership of the Justice Department.
A few days later, at a meeting in the Oval Office on December 31, Trump reportedly told Rosen and Donohue that people told him to fire them and install Clark. Clark told Rosen that day that Trump asked him if Rosen was replaced, whether he would take over as acting attorney general.
The House Committee said in a letter to Clark that the Senate report “further shows that you have conducted an unauthorized investigation into the allegations of voter fraud and failed to comply with the department’s policy on contact with the White House.”
The letter said: “Your efforts may involve the Ministry of Justice in actions that lack evidence bases and may subvert the rule of law.”