Jeffrey Clark, former Trump DOJ official, refuses to answer questions before House Jan. 6 panel

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A former senior Trump administration Department of Justice official refused to answer questions during a Friday deposition before the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

Jeffrey Clark, who the committee alleges was “involved in efforts to interrupt the peaceful transfer of power” after the 2020 presidential election, declined to answer certain questions after appearing before the committee, citing the former president’s assertions of executive privilege, according to reporting by Politico.

Mr. Clark provided the panel with a 12-page letter from his lawyer outlining his legal justification for refusing to answer certain questions, according to Politico, which first obtained the letter.

Mr. Clark’s refusal follows a House vote last month to hold former Trump adviser Steve Bannon in criminal contempt after failing to appear for a deposition before the committee.

Mr. Bannon’s lawyer, Robert Costello, sent a letter to the House panel before his scheduled deposition indicating that his client would not participate, citing the former president’s assertion of executive privilege, which he said had yet to be ironed out by the committee.

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, Mississippi Democrat and chairman of the special committee investigating the riot, dismissed Mr. Bannon’s claims and said he was “hiding behind the former president’s insufficient, blanket, and vague statements regarding privileges he has purported to invoke.”

Former President Donald Trump has sued federal officials over the release of documents related to the Jan. 6 probe.

Mr. Trump’s legal team says in the lawsuit that the House committee has “no legitimate legislative purpose” for its request. The legal team also continues to press its claim that, as a former president, Mr. Trump enjoys “inherent constitutional rights of privilege.”

While Mr. Bannon had left the administration long before the lead-up to the Jan. 6 attack, Mr. Clark was still working in the administration during the period that is within the scope of the committee’s investigation.

Still, it is unclear whether Mr. Clark’s claims will hold any weight with the committee.

Mr. Thompson told Politico that a criminal referral for Mr. Clark is “on the table.”

Representatives from the House Select Committee did not immediately respond to The Washington Times’ request for comment.

Mr. Clark’s deposition Friday was in response to a subpoena sent by Mr. Thompson last month.

Citing a recently released report by the Senate Judiciary Committee, the House panel alleges that Mr. Clark proposed that the Justice Department send letters to certain state legislators to delay the election certification. Mr. Clark also recommended that senior officials in the department greenlight a press conference announcing an investigation into accusations of voter fraud, according to the report.

Both proposals were rejected by Mr. Clark’s superiors.

The committee alleges that Mr. Trump considered appointing Mr. Clark as acting attorney general as a result of his efforts.

“While he did not ultimately make that personnel change, your efforts risked involving the Department of Justice in actions that lacked evidentiary foundation and threatened to subvert the rule of law,” Mr. Thompson said in the subpoena.

This story is based in part on wire service reports.

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