During an appearance on CNN, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) — who chairs the House committee investigating the Capitol riot — indicated that the committee would “probably” initiate criminal contempt proceedings against former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark after he refused to answer substantive questions from the committee. Clark was a leader within the Trump administration of the effort to use the powers of the federal government in support of attempts to keep Trump in office. As part of those machinations, Clark attempted to get the department to send a letter to Georgia officials urging the convening of a special state legislative session to examine unfounded election fraud allegations.
Bennie Thompson says on CNN the Jan. 6 select committee will “probably” move to refer to the Justice Department former Trump DOJ official Jeffrey Clark on criminal contempt charges for failing to answer questions
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) November 10, 2021
The committee and full House have already approved a finding of criminal contempt against top Trump ally and former top adviser to the ex-president Steve Bannon, but the status of that matter, which was subsequently referred to the Justice Department for Bannon’s potential criminal prosecution, was not immediately clear as of this Wednesday. Meanwhile, the riot investigation committee unveiled a raft of new subpoenas this week, targeting high-profile individuals like ex-Trump adviser Michael Flynn and Trump administration press secretary Kayleigh McEnany. The subpoenaed individuals are all in positions to have substantive information about the circumstances surrounding the Capitol violence, including efforts to subvert the election outcome and usurp the Congressional proceedings involving the certification of the election outcome that were scheduled for that day.
On MSNBC, Thompson commented as follows about the new subpoenas:
‘We are in the midst of following the facts and circumstances that got us to January 6. The 16 individuals we have subpoenaed this week have knowledge as to what occurred before January 6, as well as what occurred on January 6… We think it’s incumbent upon the committee to get them on the record in sworn testimony as to what actually occurred and what did they do during that time… So the people we wanted to talk to directly now are people who we think have evidence as to what really went on in terms of the planning of the “Stop the Steal” rally that morphed into an insurrection, and we want to see whether or not they actually contributed to that insurrection.’
On MSNBC, Thompson also addressed an ongoing court fight with Trump over whether the committee can obtain hundreds of pages of records from his administration. Although proceedings seemed poised to continue, a federal judge unveiled an initial ruling in the panel’s favor. Thompson observed as follows:
‘The Trump history is, when you disagree with anything, you go to court. So, we’re not surprised… So we’re confident that we’re on sound footing, and we will get those records that will help us make the case as to what really occurred leading up to January 6 and who participated in the “Stop the Steal” rally that turned into an insurrection.’
Watch Thompson below:
"We are in the midst of following the facts and circumstances that got us to Jan. 6th. The 16 individuals we have subpoenaed this week have knowledge as to what occurred before Jan. 6th as well as what occurred on Jan. 6th." – Chairman @BennieGThompson tonight on @chrislhayes pic.twitter.com/JslRFizYeL
— January 6th Committee (@January6thCmte) November 10, 2021