The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection will vote Wednesday on whether to recommend former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark be held in contempt of Congress.
If the report is adopted by the select committee, the full House will then vote on whether to hold Clark in contempt of Congress and refer him to be prosecuted by the Justice Department, specifically the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia.
The House committee investigating the Capitol attack has pursued this avenue with another reluctant witness, Stephen Bannon. He was indicted earlier this month on two counts of contempt of Congress and is awaiting trial. Even if the prosecution is successful, that does not mean the committee will obtain the information they seek, only that those refusing to provide it are sanctioned.
Clark, a former assistant attorney general for environment and natural resources in the Trump administration, formulated mechanisms to challenge former President Donald Trump’s 2020 election loss, including a proposal for the Justice Department to send letters to Georgia and other states suggesting they delay their election certifications.
The congressional subpoena Clark received required him to produce records and testimony by Oct. 29. CNN reported Clark appeared for an interview in early November, but did not answer any questions.
Bannon was indicted on two counts of criminal contempt: one for not producing records and one for not providing testimony. If convicted on both misdemeanor counts, Bannon faces a maximum of two years in jail and a fine.
Clark also floated having a Department of Justice press conference to say the agency was conducting an inquiry into allegations of voter fraud. Those ideas were rejected by top agency leadership for lacking factual evidence and because they were inconsistent with the department’s role.
It is unclear how the select committee plans to address the noncompliance of former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who has rebuffed the committee’s request for documents and an interview. A spokesperson for the committee declined comment.
Last week the committee continued sending subpoenas, most recently on Nov. 23 targeting far-right groups that engaged in violence during the Capitol riot and their members, including the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers. Members of the Proud Boys International LLC incited violence leading up to the attack and 34 people affiliated with the group have been indicted for their alleged roles in the attack.
Henry “Enrique” Tarrio was chairman of the group during the attack and though he was not allowed to be in Washington, D.C., that day, he allegedly played a role in the group’s preparation for the attack.
Eighteen members of the Oath Keepers have been indicted for allegedly plotting to storm the Capitol. The Oath Keepers organization and its president, Elemer Stewart Rhodes, who suggested his members become violent to sway the election toward Trump, received subpoenas.
Robert Patrick Lewis, chairman of 1st Amendment Praetorian, also received a subpoena for records and testimony. That group provided security at several rallies in the lead-up to Jan. 6 to tout Trump’s false election corruption claims. On Jan. 6, Lewis tweeted “Today is the day that true battles begin.”