The House select committee tasked with investigating the January 6 Capitol attack, on Wednesday unanimously voted to recommend holding former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark in contempt of Congress and referring him for criminal prosecution.
It did so despite Clark, shortly before the Wednesday committee vote, agreeing to appear before the committed for another deposition on Saturday. Clark’s lawyer had also told the committee at about 8 p.m. on Tuesday that he plans to assert his fifth amendment rights against incriminating himself.
Before the full committee vote on Wednesday night, Chairman Bennie Thompson, (D-MS) said, “This is, in my view, a last-ditch attempt to delay the Select Committee’s proceedings. However, a Fifth Amendment privilege assertion is a weight one.”
Thompson continued, ” I have informed Mr. Clark’s attorney that I am willing to convene another deposition at which Mr. Clark can assert that privilege on a question-by-question basis, which us what the law requires of someone who asserts the privilege against self-incrimination. Mr. Clark has agreed to do so.”
“We just want the facts, and we need witnesses to cooperate with the legal obligation and provide us with information about what led to the January 6 attack. Mr. Clark still has that opportunity and I hope he takes advantage of it. But we will not allow anyone to run the clock and we will insist that he must appear on this Saturday,” Thompson concluded.
If the House takes up and passed the contempt resolution, Clark will be the second individual to be held in contempt of Congress over refusal to comply with the committee’s investigation, joining former Trump adviser Steve Bannon. Bannon was subsequently indicted by the Justice Department over the contempt charge and pleaded not guilty.