The House select committee investigating the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the US Capitol issued a subpoena Wednesday to a former Justice Department official who allegedly aided former President Donald Trump in his bid to overturn last year’s election results citing voting fraud.
In a letter to Jeffrey Clark, a former assistant attorney general in the DOJ’s Civil Division, Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) wrote that there was “credible evidence that you attempted to involve the Department of Justice in efforts to interrupt the peaceful transfer of power.”
A report released last week by Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee said Clark had drafted a letter to top elected officials in Georgia informing them that the Justice Department had “taken notice” of election irregularities and recommending calling a special state legislative session to, in the report’s words, “evaluate these irregularities, determine who ‘won the most legal votes,’ and consider appointing a new slate of Electors.”
The Senate report also found that Clark emailed the draft on Dec. 28 to then-Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue suggesting that similar “proof of concept” letters be sent to “each relevant state” where Trump had suggested the election results were fraudulent.
After Rosen and Donoghue rejected this idea, the report says, Clark told Rosen on Jan. 3 that Trump would install him as acting attorney general later that day. Rosen, Donoghue and other DOJ officials met with Trump in the Oval Office that night and informed him that “mass resignations” would take place if the president gave Clark the top job.
Donoghue is quoted in the report as saying that Trump did not give up on the idea of appointing Clark acting AG until “very deep” in the hours-long meeting.
Thompson wrote Wednesday that Clark’s actions “risked involving the Department of Justice in actions that lacked evidentiary foundations and threatened to subvert the rule of law.” Clark has been asked to testify Oct. 29, the deadline for him to submit documents related to his purported actions.
Trump himself, who has repeatedly raged against the Select Committee, did so again Wednesday, asking in an emailed statement: “Why isn’t the January 6th Unselect Committee of partisan hacks studying the massive Presidential Election Fraud, which took place on November 3rd and was the reason that hundreds of thousands of people went to Washington to protest on January 6th?”
“You cannot study January 6th without studying the reason it happened, November 3rd,” Trump added. “But the Democrats don’t want to do that because they know what took place on Election Day in the Swing States, and beyond. If we had an honest media this Election would have been overturned many months ago, but our media is almost as corrupt as our political system!”
In a subsequent statement, Trump warned: “If we don’t solve the Presidential Election Fraud of 2020 (which we have thoroughly and conclusively documented), Republicans will not be voting in ’22 or ’24. It is the single most important thing for Republicans to do.”
Clark is the 19th person to be subpoenaed by the committee in recent weeks as it attempts to pin down, according to Thompson’s letter, the “facts, circumstances, and causes” of the Jan. 6 violence. Among those summoned to produce documents and give testimony are former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Trump adviser Steve Bannon, as well as 11 officials involved in organizing the “Stop the Steal” rally that precipitated the riot.
The panel has said Meadows and former Defense Department official Kash Patel are “engaging,” though it is unclear exactly what that entails. It is also unclear whether Dan Scavino, Trump’s longtime social media director, will cooperate. Bannon has thus far refused to cooperate, putting him at risk of being charged with contempt.
Trump’s attorney general, William Barr, has said the Justice Department found no evidence of widespread fraud that could have overturned the results. Unsubstantiated claims of fraud have been repeatedly rejected by judge after judge, including by Trump appointees, and by election officials across the country.
With Post wires