Trump Slams 1/6 Panel Ahead of Vote to Hold Ex-Justice Official Jeffrey Clark in Contempt

Donald Trump is lashing out at the January 6 committee ahead of its vote on a criminal contempt referral for former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark.

"Interesting to watch the Unselect Committee go after the gentleman at the Department of Justice who thought the Election was RIGGED, but not go after the people who did the RIGGING," the former president said in a statement Tuesday.

Trump added, "The Unselect Committee itself is Rigged, stacked with Never Trumpers, Republican enemies, and two disgraced RINOs, Cheney and Kinzinger, who couldn't get elected 'dog catcher' in their districts."

The select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol will meet this week to vote on whether the House of Representatives should hold Clark in contempt of Congress.

Clark was subpoenaed in October to testify and deliver records to the committee. He appeared before the panel earlier this month but refused to answer substantive questions. Clark's lawyer had argued attorney-client privilege protected his conversations with Trump.

Trump Slams 1/6 Panel Before Clark Vote
Donald Trump on Tuesday criticized the January 6 committee ahead of its vote on a criminal contempt referral for former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark. In this photo, Trump prepares to speak during the Conservative Political Action Conference CPAC. Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Clark led the Environment and Natural Resources division of the Justice Department during the Trump administration and in his final days served as an acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division. According to a report released this fall by the Senate Judiciary Committee, Clark tried to use federal resources to delay the certification of Joe Biden's 2020 electoral college victory.

Democrat Bennie Thompson, chairman of the committee, rejected the privilege argument and warned at the time that Clark had "a very short time to reconsider and cooperate fully."

"It's astounding that someone who so recently held a position of public trust to uphold the Constitution would now hide behind vague claims of privilege by a former President, refuse to answer questions about an attack on our democracy, and continue an assault on the rule of law," Thompson said in a statement.

Clark is the second former Trump official to face contempt proceedings from the panel.

Former White House adviser Steve Bannon turned himself into the FBI earlier this month after being indicted by the Justice Department for defying a subpoena from the committee.

Bannon had argued that executive privilege protected him from having to turn over records in the probe, even though he was not working in the federal government when the Capitol riot took place.

Trump has also cited executive privilege as a reason to keep White House documents away from the congressional panel. The former president has sued to keep the records secret, but on Tuesday a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit appeared skeptical of that argument.

If the January 6 committee votes to advance a criminal contempt referral against Clark, it is likely that the Democratic-controlled chamber will pass it. The measure would then be left in the hands of the Justice Department.

Newsweek reached out to Chairman Thompson for comment on Trump's statement.