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Jan. 6 panel votes to hold former DOJ official in contempt – The Denver Post – Denver, Colorado

Denver, Colorado 2021-12-01 19:58:31 –

By MARY CLARE JALONICK

Washington (AP) — A House committee investigating the January 6th US Capitol riots refused to answer the committee’s questions, even though the committee agreed to bring him back. Voted Wednesday to pursue contempt accusations against Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark for another attempt.

The Commission voted 9-0 to pursue a criminal accusation against Clark, who was in line with Donald Trump when the then president tried to overturn his election defeat.

The panel’s Democratic Chairman Bennie Thompson on January 6 said he had received a last-minute notice from Clark’s lawyer that he would instead exercise his Fifth Amendment for self-incrimination. .. “There is no concrete basis for that claim,” Thompson said, “there is no fact that would allow the Commission to consider it,” but the Commission is scheduled to deposit on Saturday. Give him a second chance.

“This is, in my view, the last attempt to delay the selection committee process,” Thompson said. “But the claims of privilege in Article 5 of the Constitutional Amendment are important. Mr. Clark had previously had the opportunity to record these claims, but the Special Commission provided him with another opportunity to do so. increase.”

Mr Thompson said the commission continued to vote for insults, “because this is only the first step in the insulting process.”

Clark appeared in the testimony record last month, but refused to answer the question because of Trump’s legal efforts to thwart the Commission’s investigation.

The criminal insult recommendation against Clark is now contempt of court for voting, although it is unclear if it will be delayed. If the House of Representatives votes to insult Clark, the Department of Justice decides whether to prosecute.

In a record of Clark’s discontinued November 5 interview released by the Panel on Tuesday, committee staff and members forced Trump to investigate false allegations of his widespread fraud. So I tried to persuade a former Justice Department employee to answer questions about his role in the election. Clark became an ally of the former president as other judicial authorities pushed back unfounded claims.

However, Clark’s lawyer, Harry McDagard, said in an interview that Clark is protected not only by Trump’s claim of executive privilege, but also by several other privileges that McDagard argued should be given to Clark. Said. The Commission rejected those discussions, and McDagard and Clark escaped from the interview about 90 minutes later.

Trump’s pressure culminated in a dramatic White House meeting in which the president argued against promoting Clark to prosecutor-general, according to a report earlier this year by the Senate Judiciary Committee interviewing some of Clark’s colleagues. bottom. He did not do so after several aides threatened to resign.

Despite Trump’s false allegations of election theft, the main motivation for violent mobs who broke into the Capitol and hampered Biden’s proof of victory, the results were confirmed by state authorities and upheld by courts. I did. In December 2020, Trump’s own Attorney General, William Barr, said the Department of Justice did not find evidence of widespread fraud that could change the outcome.

Thompson said in Clark’s subpoena that the Commission’s investigation “provided credible evidence of an attempt to involve the Department of Justice to thwart the change of power,” his efforts “of evidence.” There was a risk of involving the Department of Justice in unfounded behavior. ” Threatened to overturn the rule of law. “

The committee’s vote on Wednesday came as Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, then Trump’s top White House aide, agreed to cooperate with the panel in a limited way after more than two months of negotiations. Meadows has provided several documents, stating that his lawyer refuses to answer certain questions about the conversation with the president, but plans to take testimony shortly next week.

Meadows lawyer George Turwilliger, in collaboration with the Commission and its staff, does not require Meadows to waive the executive privilege Trump claims on Tuesday, or “a long-standing position that White House’s senior aide cannot. “I will not lose” said he works at the accommodation. You will be forced to testify before Congress. “

“We appreciate the openness of the selection committee for receiving voluntary answers on non-privileged topics,” Terwilliger said in a statement. He had previously said that due to Trump’s claim of privilege, Meadows would not obey the panel’s September subpoena.

Mr. Thompson said Meadows had provided the panel with a document and would be interviewed shortly, but the committee “continues to assess his degree of compliance.”

Still, Meadows’ intention to work with the Panel calls for interviews with unobtrusive witnesses who may have particularly important information to share, so the Panel’s seven Democrats and two. Republican victory. The Commission has summoned more than 40 witnesses and interviewed more than 150 in a closed room.

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The Associated Press writer Eric Tucker contributed to this report.

Jan. 6 panel votes to hold former DOJ official in contempt – The Denver Post Source link Jan. 6 panel votes to hold former DOJ official in contempt – The Denver Post

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