By Jill Colvin, Michelle R. Smith, Eric Tucker and Marie Claire Jalonick
WASHINGTON (AP) – The House committee investigating the January 6 riots at the US Capitol has issued a subpoena to a former Justice Department attorney who positioned himself as an aide to Donald Trump and called on the 2020 results. Republicans supported the president’s efforts to challenge. Election.
The summons to Jeffrey Clark, which surfaced on Wednesday, comes amid signs of a rapidly growing congressional investigation. At least three people involved in organizing and conducting the rally before the violent riots are handing over documents in response to the committee’s summons.
The demand for documents and testimony from Clark reflects not only the committee’s efforts to investigate the deadly rebellion, but also the uproar that has led Trump and his aides to step up their baseless claims on public prosecutors in the weeks ahead. I shook. The election results were fake. Trump loyalists, who wrongly believed the election had been stolen, stormed the Capitol in an attempt to obstruct Congress’s certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s victory.
Clark, assistant attorney general in the Trump administration, has emerged as a key character in that saga. A Senate committee report released last week shows how he supported Trump’s efforts to undo the election results and clashed with senior Justice Department officials who resisted the pressure, in a dramatic White House rout. The meeting culminated in Trump talking about raising Clarke as attorney general.
The committee’s chair, Democratic Representative Benny Thompson of Mississippi, announced in a letter to Clark, “The selection committee investigation has revealed credible evidence that you have attempted to involve the Justice Department in efforts to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power.” had tried.” summons.
Although Trump ultimately did not appoint Clarke’s acting attorney general, Clark’s “efforts risked engaging the Justice Department in actions that lacked the foundation of evidence and threatened to overthrow the rule of law, Thompson said.
The committee has scheduled a statement for October 29 and has sought documents by the same date. Clark’s attorney declined to comment.
The January 6 panel has so far sought testimony from a broad cast of witnesses, but its demand from Trump’s aides and aides is potentially complicated by Trump’s pledge to fight their cooperation on grounds of executive privilege.
Already a witness, Steve Bannon, has told the committee he will not cooperate based on Trump’s directive, although lawmakers have said they were “engaged” with two other Trump officials – the former White House chief of staff. Mark Meadows and former Defense Department official Kashyap Patel. It is also unclear whether Trump’s longtime social media director and one of his most loyal aides Dan Scavino will cooperate.
Biden has formally rejected Trump’s claim of executive privilege surrounding a tranche of requested documents from the former president’s time in the White House, and set up his possible release to Congress in mid-November. White House counsel Dana Remus wrote to the National Archives in a letter released Wednesday that Biden believes “a claim of executive privilege is not in the best interest of the United States.”
Others, however, are cooperating, including some of the 11 who organized or staffed a Trump rally before the riots. He was given Wednesday’s deadline to hand over the documents and records, and was also asked to appear on separate statements set by the committee.
Among those responding was Lyndon Brentnall, whose firm was hired to provide event security that day. “All documents and communications requested by the summons were handed over,” he told the Associated Press.
Brentnall previously said his firm had “every intention” to comply. “As far as we are concerned, we ran security in a legally permitted program in conjunction with the US Secret Service and the Park Police,” he said.
Two longtime Trump campaign and White House staffers, Megan Powers and Hannah Salem, who were listed on January 6, rally as “Operations Manager for Scheduling and Guidance” and “Operations Manager for Operations and Communications”. Permit has also provided documents or is planning to do so.
Powers, who served as the operations director for Trump’s reelection campaign, intends to provide the requested documents and meet with the committee – although it is unclear what form such meetings will take, said a person familiar with his response. According to the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Several rioters who stormed the Capitol on January 6 marched on the National Mall after attending at least part of Trump’s rally, where he repeated his baseless claims of election fraud and told the crowd to “fight like hell”. inspired to.
The election results were confirmed by state officials and upheld by the courts. Trump’s own Attorney General, William Barr, said the Justice Department had found no evidence of widespread fraud that could reverse the results.
It is not clear whether the others to whom the summons were sent intended to cooperate. A committee spokesperson declined to comment on Wednesday on the response it had received and how many of the 11 were complying.
Members of the committee, including the panel’s Republican vice president, Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, have threatened to pursue criminal contempt charges against witnesses who refuse to comply. A House vote will send those charges to the Justice Department, which will then decide whether to prosecute.
The summons to Clark follows the release last week of a Senate Judiciary Committee report that documented extraordinary tension within senior ranks of the Justice Department in December and January as Trump and his aides sought to help him undo the election. The law enforcement agency was prosecuted for
The committee’s Democratic majority report depicts Clark as a tireless advocate inside the building for Trump’s efforts, even with a draft letter to aides giving Georgia officials a special look at the election results. has been prompted to convene a legislative session. Clark wanted the letter to be sent, but Justice Department seniors refused.
“We need to understand Mr. Clark’s role in these efforts at the Justice Department and know who was involved in the administration,” Thompson wrote.
Two additional rally organizers, Ali Alexander and Nathan Martin, as well as their “Stop the Steel” outfit, were also summoned to the documents, which are due on October 21.
Alexander wrote in a Telegram post on Monday that the committee was “calling people in bad faith.”
“So maybe this selection committee is bogus?” she added. “Everyone is waiting to see what I will do.”
Colvin reported from New York and Smith from Providence, Rhode Island. Associated Press writers Farnoush Amiri and Zeke Miller in Washington contributed to this report.