WASHINGTON — The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol is considering bringing contempt charges against ex-Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark.
The committee on Monday set a Wednesday meeting to consider the charges.
Clark is part of an organized effort of former Trump administration officials who have refused to provide requested information leading up to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Clark, who served as an assistant attorney general and according to a Senate report promised to pursue Trump’s false election claims, did appear before the panel but refused to cooperate.
After the committee votes on the contempt referral, the Rules Committee would meet on the resolution before it goes to the House floor for debate and a final vote.
Wednesday’s meeting will just focus on Clark. Mark Meadows, Trump’s former White House chief of staff, has also publicly stone-walled the committee, but the committee is not acting on possible charges for him at this time. Meadows refused to appear before the panel for a scheduled deposition earlier this month but through his lawyers has communicated with the committee.
Two senior Democrats familiar with the panel said the committee will base its decision on whether to move forward with the contempt referral around what the lawyers for Meadows and Clark provide them. Clark’s claims of executive privilege — which have been rejected by the panel — put him at greater risk for a contempt referral, another Democrat said.
“Two individuals have clearly not been as forthcoming as of last week,” said one senior Democrat who is familiar with the committee but not currently authorized to speak on the committee’s behalf. “That could eventually just be one name.”
The potential contempt findings would mark the second time the panel investigating the attack on the Capitol pursued charges against former Trump aides who’ve refused to comply with subpoenas. The House voted to find Steve Bannon in contempt last month after the former Trump aide refused to turn over information his lawyer claimed was protected by executive privilege. Bannon was later indicted for two counts of contempt of Congress for defying a congressional subpoena.
Trump also used executive privilege in his attempt to block his administration’s records related to the Jan. 6 riot from being released. A judge ruled against Trump but a federal appeals court issued a brief hold while the parties submit briefs. Lawyers for Trump and the House committee seeking details on the ex-president’s movements the day of the Jan. 6 rally are expected to hold arguments on Nov 30, a day before the committee plans to meet on the latest contempt charges.
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