Passing the criminal contempt report against Clark out of the committee would set up a key floor vote in the House, though it’s unclear when that will happen after Clark agrees to appear first when he was deposed on Saturday.
Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, said in her opening remarks on Wednesday that Clark will have the opportunity to appear before the panel on Saturday for a new appointment after Clark sent a new letter to the committee stating that he intends to request Fifth Amendment protection.
“Although Mr. Clark has previously had the opportunity to make these statements on file, the Selection Committee will provide him with another opportunity to do so. I have informed Mr. Clark’s attorney that I am willing to convene another impeachment where Mr. Clark can assert that privilege on a question-by-question basis, which is a requirement of prerogatives against self-incrimination. ,” Thompson said. “We have just learned that Mr. Clark has agreed to re-appear for further removal from office.”
However, Thompson said the committee will continue to conduct its review of the contempt request, and all nine members voted through the report out of the committee Wednesday night.
Republican Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, vice chair of the committee, said Wednesday the committee “would not have completed his contempt process if Mr. appear in court this Saturday.”
After going through the room, it will be forwarded to the Department of Justice, which will then have to decide whether to prosecute.
The contempt report on Clark, released Tuesday night, outlines the efforts the committee made to get him to comply with the subpoena, and Clark’s failure to do so.
Hours before the scheduled meeting, Thompson told CNN a new letter to the committee suggested Clark could ask for his Fifth Amendment rights to not answer the committee’s questions.
The letter outlines a new strategy by Clark, who has gone to great lengths to avoid cooperating with the commission, including claiming that any information he may provide is protected by the privilege of executives or attorney-clients.
Clark has not formally invoked the Fifth Amendment over his dealings with the commission, but Thompson said his actions show that’s the direction he’s headed. The Chairman made it clear, however, that that was not what prevented the committee from proceeding with its plan to recommend him for contempt of court.
“He stepped out on a deposition,” Thompson said. “That kind of puts you in a weak position to make any kind of assertion.”
Congressman Zoe Lofgren of California, one of the members of the panel, described the new letter from Clark’s legal team as “frivolous” earlier in the day.
“They just sent us a very long letter that I read through that honestly seemed frivolous, but I wanted the attorneys on the committee to give us their advice,” Lofgren said.
In its 22-page report, the committee said Clark violated Justice Department policy when he met with Trump to discuss efforts to overturn the 2020 election and, moreover, hold conversations. with members of Congress on the authorization of elections.
The report states that the committee contacted Clark’s attorneys several times, even granting an extension for them to present records and appear to dismiss the complaint. But when Clark finally showed up, the committee said, his attorney gave the council employee a 12-page letter opposing almost any question on the grounds that Trump was entitled to confidential legal advice. confidentiality — what Clark’s attorney calls a “sacred trust.”
The letter further argues that “general categories of executive privilege, specific categories of presidential communications, law enforcement and due process privileges, as well as attorney-client and academic privileges.” work product theory, all agree on this point,” according to the report.
After being pressed to answer questions that the committee believed would not justify claims of executive privilege, Clark “suddenly left” the impeachment.
The documents Clark was asked to hand over included contacts with Trump, senior members of the White House, Trump’s re-election campaign, John Eastman, a conservative attorney who works with the President’s legal team. then – and state officials.
Before the vote, Thompson said he felt confident the measure would pass easily by the committee, but did not guarantee a unanimous vote.
“I think we’ve made an effort to be as agreeable as possible, and now it’s time for us as a committee to make a decision and move on,” Thompson said. “We can’t continue to waste time on someone who’s been subpoenaed and doesn’t follow through on what’s been asked of us.”
This story and title have been updated to reflect additional developments on Wednesday.