WASHINGTON – Federal authorities on Wednesday conducted a search of the suburban Virginia home of former Justice Department attorney Jeffrey Clark, once central to Donald Trump’s effort to nullify the 2020 presidential election, two people familiar with the matter said Thursday. affair.
The police action comes as the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol prepared to describe how Trump tried unsuccessfully to install Clark as acting attorney general to pursue allegations. false electoral fraud.
A spokesman for the US Attorney’s Office in Washington, DC, confirmed that the police activity occurred in the vicinity of Clark’s home, but declined to describe the purpose of the action.
Clark could not be reached for comment Thursday. His attorney did not immediately respond to inquiries.
Russell Vought, a former Trump administration official who now heads the conservative Center for American Renewal, defended Clark, who served as a senior member of the group. He described Thursday’s search on Twitter as a “predawn raid” involving more than a dozen investigators in which Clark was placed on the street in his pajamas while authorities seized electronic devices.
“This is not America folks,” Vought tweeted. “The militarization of government must end. Let me be very clear. We stand with Jeff and so should every patriot in this country.”
The House committee heard testimony Thursday from three former top Justice officials, including former Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, about Clark’s efforts to nullify them by drafting a letter to Georgia officials seeking to delay certification of the state election results.
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According to officials, Clark tried to recruit Rosen to help Trump’s electoral scheme, once he told Rosen he would decline Trump’s offer to take Rosen’s place if the acting attorney general agreed to join.
The effort included a contentious Oval Office meeting on January 3, 2021 when Richard Donoghue, then the acting deputy attorney general, warned of a mass resignation of Justice Department officials and federal prosecutors if Trump moved to replace Rosen with Clark to aid the president’s electoral subversion scheme.
Donoghue also testified Thursday, saying Clark persisted in the scheme despite stern warnings from both Rosen and Donoghue.
During the three-hour meeting, then-White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and Deputy Counsel Patrick Philbin also threatened to tender their resignations, reportedly calling Clark’s efforts to pursue voter fraud allegations baseless. as a “murder-suicide pact”.
Clark made a brief video appearance at Thursday’s panel hearing, recorded from an earlier meeting with the committee in which he declined to answer questions.
When asked about the letter intended for Georgia officials, Clark invoked his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination.
“Fifth,” Clark said.
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