Jeffrey Clark's Deposition With Jan. 6 Committee Postponed Because of Health Condition

Former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark's deposition with the Jan. 6 House Committee was postponed because of a "medical condition that precludes his participation," committee spokesman Timothy Mulvey said.

"Through his attorney, Mr. Clark has informed the Select Committee of a medical condition that precludes his participation in tomorrow's meeting and he has provided ample evidence of his claim," said Mulvey in a statement Friday evening.

Mulvey said the deposition has been rescheduled for Dec. 16.

Clark, who supported former President Donald Trump in his allegation of voter fraud in the 2020 election, refused to answer questions at his first deposition in November, The Associated Press reported. He and his lawyer just left when he declined to answer. The committee then planned the second interview for Saturday.

The panel previously voted Wednesday to push charging Clark with contempt but said it would wait until a full House vote and allow him another chance.

Before the committee voted for the contempt, Clark's lawyer told them that his client wished to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. This was after Clark refused to answer questions regarding Trump's claim of executive privilege and other rights his lawyer said he should be allowed.

Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, chairman of the committee, said Clark gave "no specific basis" for exercising his Fifth Amendment and that he saw it as a "last-ditch attempt to delay the Select Committee's proceedings." However, Thompson said the panel was willing to listen to him.

The Jan. 6 committee would like Clark to go on a question-by-question basis when pleading the Fifth Amendment.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Jeffrey Clark, Deposition Postponement, Jan. 6 Committee
Jeffrey Clark, who supported former President Donald Trump in his voter fraud allegations in the 2020 election, will have his second deposition with the Jan. 6 committee on Dec. 16, where the panel requests that Clark exercises his Fifth Amendment right on a question-by-question basis. In this photo, Clark speaks next to Deputy U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen at a news conference. Yuri Gripas-Pool/Getty Images

The former Justice Department official met with Trump ahead of the violent insurrection and unsuccessfully pushed his then-supervisors to publicly announce that the department was investigating election fraud and direct certain state legislatures to appoint new electors, according to a Senate Judiciary Committee report released earlier this year.

The report said that Trump's pressure on the Justice Department culminated in a dramatic White House meeting at which the president ruminated about elevating Clark to attorney general. Trump did not do so after several aides threatened to resign, but he continued to push the baseless claims of fraud that were repeated by the violent mob of his supporters as they broke into the Capitol and interrupted the certification of President Joe Biden's victory.

If the committee decides after the deposition that Clark is still in defiance of the subpoena, the House could vote on contempt charges soon afterward. The Justice Department would then decide whether to prosecute.

Clark is the second person the committee has voted to hold in contempt. The House voted in October to recommend charges against longtime Trump ally Steve Bannon after he defied a subpoena and the Justice Department indicted him on two counts of criminal contempt.

Trump, who told his supporters to "fight like hell" on the morning of the rioting, has sued to block the committee's work and has attempted to assert executive privilege over documents and interviews, arguing that his private conversations and actions at the time should be shielded from public view.

Despite Trump's false claims about a stolen election — the primary motivation for the violent mob that broke into the Capitol and interrupted the certification of Biden's victory — the results were confirmed by state officials and upheld by the courts.

Trump's own attorney general, William Barr, said in December 2020 that the Justice Department found no evidence of widespread fraud that could have changed the results.

Bennie Thompson, Jan. 6 Committee, Jeffrey Clark
House Jan. 6 Select Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., center, flanked by Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., left, and Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., meet to vote on pursuing contempt charges against Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department lawyer who aligned with former President Donald Trump as Trump tried to overturn his election defeat, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo