The House Select Committee investigating the January 6 riots in the US capital has expanded its investigation into former Trump officials as it seeks legal action against those who do not cooperate.
Committee Chairman Rep. Benny G. Thompson issued a statement Wednesday to Jeffrey Clark, a former Trump administration official, who told the panel that “efforts to derail the 2020 presidential election and impede a peaceful transfer of power I was involved. ”
The panel issued 19 subpoenas targeting former Trump officials and others who participated in the “Stop the Theft” rally before the January 6 riots.
The Mississippi Democrat, Mr. Thompson, said in a statement, “The select committee needs to understand all the details of the efforts made within the previous administration to delay the 2020 election confirmation and misinformation about the election results.” To be extended. ” “We in the Justice Department need to understand Mr. Clark’s role in these efforts and find out who was involved in the administration.”
Citing a recent report by the Senate Judiciary Committee, the House panel alleged that Mr. Clark suggested that the Justice Department send letters to some state legislators to delay election certification.
Mr Clarke called on senior department officials to hold a press conference announcing an investigation into allegations of voter fraud, according to a Senate committee report. Both proposals were rejected by Mr Clark’s superiors.
The House Committee alleges that then-President Donald Trump considered appointing Mr. Clark as acting attorney general as a result of his efforts.
Mr Thompson said in a statement: “Although he did not ultimately make this personal change, your efforts endangered the Department of Justice’s involvement in actions that lacked evidence and threatened to undermine the rule of law. Was given. ”
The House panel requested that Mr. Clark submit documents related to the case and appear before the committee for a schedule on October 29.
Wednesday’s request came as the schedule for four former Trump administration officials was submitted.
Former White House Chief Strategist Stephen K. Benn and former Defense Department official Cash Patel are scheduled to submit Thursday.
Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and former Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino are scheduled to appear Friday.
Mr. Trump has resisted the efforts of his administration’s inquiry committee, citing administrative privileges. But his argument has been dismissed by current White House counsel as baseless and “not in America’s best interest.”
Mr Benn’s lawyer, Robert Costello, sent a letter to the House panel late Wednesday night stating that his clients would not take part in the statements, citing the former president’s claim to privileges. That is yet to be deduced by the committee.
Mr Costello’s letter came as no surprise to lawmakers, who noted last week that Mr Benn had indicated he would not comply.
“Mr. Benn has indicated that he will try to hide behind the vague references to the former president’s privileges.” Will do. ”
It is not clear if Messrs. Patel, Meadows and Scavino intend to comply. In a statement last week, Mr. Thompson and Ms. Cheney, a Wyoming Republican and vice chair of the select committee, said Mr. Meadows and Mr. Patel were “engaged with the select committee so far.”
Lawmakers on the panel have indicated they will pursue criminal contempt charges against those who fail to file.
Mr Thompson and Ms Cheney said last week that “we will not allow any witnesses to refuse to appear in court or try to stop the clock, and we will consider further criminal contempt of Congress referrals.”