A former high-ranking Justice Department official appeared on Wednesday before the congressional committee probing the assault on the U.S. Capitol for questions about his bid to bolster former President Donald Trump’s false claims of election fraud.
Jeffrey Bossert Clark was seen by TV cameras entering a room inside a U.S. House of Representatives office building where the select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack takes its depositions. A committee spokesman declined to comment.
Clark’s attorney Harry MacDougald declined to comment on Wednesday’s deposition.
Clark is among a growing list of Trump supporters who have balked at requests to cooperate with the investigation, though the panel has scored some legal victories over Trump’s efforts to keep certain government records under wraps.
The National Archives said it would be providing some of former Vice President Mike Pence’s records to the committee.
The committee has so far interviewed about 400 witnesses, issued more than 60 subpoenas and obtained more than 50,000 pages of records.
Committee investigators on Wednesday also interviewed by video Stewart Rhodes, the detained leader of the right-wing Oath Keepers group, his attorney told CBS. Rhodes was arrested and charged with seditious conspiracy last month.
Clark, who served as the acting head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division, drafted a Dec. 28, 2020, letter to Georgia state lawmakers that falsely claimed the department had found “significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election in multiple States, including the State of Georgia.”
The draft letter urged state legislators to convene a special session to overturn the election results there.
Clark tried to persuade former Acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen and former Acting Deputy Attorney General Rich Donoghue to send the letter, but they refused.
Rosen and Donoghue later told U.S. Senate investigators that Clark also privately met with Trump to lobby the then-president to oust Rosen so Clark could be installed as acting attorney general, paving the way for him to send the letter and launch voter fraud investigations.
Clark in November declined to answer the committee’s questions about his legal advice to Trump, saying such discussions were privileged.
The panel voted on Dec. 1, 2021, to seek contempt of Congress charges against Clark, but it has not sought a vote of the full House after Clark’s attorney said his client intends to invoke his right against self-incrimination, protected by the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.