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Jan. 6 committee subpoenas ex-DOJ official who backed Trump push to overturn election

Trump has pressed his aides and allies not to comply with the committee’s requests.
Jeff Clark, Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division, speaks during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington on Sept. 14, 2020.
Jeffrey Clark, then an assistant attorney general, at the Justice Department last year.Susan Walsh / Pool via AFP - Getty Images file

The congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol subpoenaed a former Justice Department lawyer on Wednesday who played a key role in then-President Donald Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election.

The subpoena seeks sworn testimony and records from Jeffrey Clark, the former acting head of the Justice Department's civil division, by Oct. 29.

“The Select Committee needs to understand all the details about efforts inside the previous administration to delay the certification of the 2020 election and amplify misinformation about the election results,” Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the committee’s chair, said in a statement. “We need to understand Mr. Clark’s role in these efforts at the Justice Department and learn who was involved across the administration. The Select Committee expects Mr. Clark to cooperate fully with our investigation.”

A nearly 400-page report released by the Senate Judiciary Committee last week laid out a detailed timeline of Trump’s campaign to pressure Justice Department officials to help him try to reverse President Joe Biden’s victory. The report’s findings are based on testimony from three former Justice Department officials, as well as documents and emails.

The report said Trump wanted to replace Jeffrey Rosen, then the acting attorney general, with Clark, who devised a strategy with Trump for the Justice Department to intervene in Georgia’s appointment of presidential electors and to use the model in other states. Rosen and Richard Donoghue, then the acting deputy attorney general, rejected Clark’s proposal, the report said.

“The Select Committee’s investigation has revealed credible evidence that you attempted to involve the Department of Justice in efforts to interrupt the peaceful transfer of power,” the committee said in its letter. “You proposed that the department send a letter to state legislators in Georgia and other states suggesting that they delay certification of their election results and hold a press conference announcing that the department was investigating allegations of voter fraud.”

The committee has ramped up its inquiry over the past several weeks, seeking records and testimony from former top aides in the Trump administration, as well as right-wing activists who organized rallies on or before Jan. 6.

Trump has pressed his aides and allies not to comply with the committee’s requests. He has also sought to invoke executive privilege to block the committee from obtaining his White House records. The Biden administration, however, shot down Trump’s request.

White House counsel Dana Remus said in a letterFriday that the documents “shed light on events within the White House on and about Jan. 6 and bear on the Select Committee’s need to understand the facts underlying the most serious attack on the operations of the Federal government since the Civil War.”