On Wednesday, a House committee investigating the 6th January Capitol riot will vote to hold Jeffrey Clark, the former Justice Department official, in contempt to demand criminal charges against a rebellious witness for a second time as representatives seek answers about the insurgency. Furthermore, on Monday, the committee scheduled a vote to pursue contempt charges against the former DOJ lawyer who aligned with former President Donald Trump as he tried to overturn his 2020 presidential election defeat.
➡️ Wednesday, December 1st at 7:00 PM
The Select Committee will vote on a report recommending that the House of Representatives cite Jeffrey Clark for criminal contempt of Congress and refer him for prosecution.
— January 6th Committee (@January6thCmte) November 29, 2021
After the approval from the panel, the endorsement of criminal contempt charges would then proceed towards the full House for a vote and then to the DOJ. He appeared for testimony on 5th November but told representatives that he wouldn’t answer questions based comparatively on the legal efforts of the former president to block the investigation of the committee.
In addition, the vote will come as the panel is also considering contempt charges against Mark Meadows, the ex-Chief of Staff of the White House, who was the senior aide of the former president, the day when hundreds of his supporters violently attacked the United States Capitol. The committee summoned Meadows in September, but still, he didn’t sit for an interview with the committee.
Two Federal Criminal Charges on Steve Bannon
Furthermore, the panel pledged to aggressively seek charges against any witness who does not conform as they probe into the worst attack on the Capitol in the last two centuries. The DOJ signified that it is willing to pursue those charges, accusing Steve Bannon, Trump’s longtime ally, earlier this month on two federal criminal contempt charges. Afterward, Attorney General Merrick Garland said that the indictment of Bannon reflects the steadfast commitment of the Justice Department to the rule of law after Bannon overt resisted the committee and declined to cooperate.
Additionally, Clark’s case could be more complex since he did appear for his testimony and, unlike Bannon, was a Trump government official on 6th January former president sued to bar the work of the committee and tried to defend executive privilege over interviews and documents, arguing that his actions and conversations at the time should be protected from public view.
Democratic leaders issued the report on Senate Judiciary Committee, and it detailed how Clark championed the efforts of Trump to revert the election outcomes and clashed as a result with DOJ superiors who defied the pressure, concluding in a dramatic White House meeting at which former president reflected about elevating Clark to the attorney general. He didn’t do so after many advisors threatened to resign.
In 2015, the Justice Department denied prosecuting ex-IRS official Lois Lerner on contempt of Congress charges. Lerner delivered an initial statement at a congressional hearing. She rejected any offense but then refused to answer questions from representatives, citing her 5th Amendment right not to convict herself. With small instances to go on, it is not clear what the department would do in the case of Clark.
Biden would Waive any Privilege over Meadows’ Interview
The lawyer of Meadow repeatedly made clear that he won’t abide by the September summons, arguing that Trump said that he would emphasize executive privilege over the deposition. However, the committee rejected those arguments, especially as the White House said that Democratic president Biden would wave any right over the interview of Meadow and, as courts so far, shot down the efforts of Donald Trump to stop the committee from assembling data.
Moreover, the House panel argued that they have questions for Clark and Meadows, as they did with Bannon, that don’t directly involve discussions with the former president and could not likely be stopped by privilege claims. In the September subpoena of the committee, Thompson mentioned the efforts of Meadows to overturn Biden’s victory – state officials confirmed the results, and courts upheld them. William Barr, the ex-attorney general of Trump, stated that the DOJ found no evidence of extensive fraud that could change the results.