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WASHINGTON — The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack is planning to ramp up its efforts to force Trump administration officials to cooperate with its inquiry and on Wednesday it issued a subpoena for a former Justice Department official viewed as key to the examination of the former president’s efforts to overturn election results.

The committee said it is seeking records and testimony from Jeffrey Clark, a Trump Justice Department official who sought to deploy department resources to support former president Donald Trump’s false claims of massive voting fraud in the 2020 election.

‘’The Select Committee needs to understand all the details about efforts inside the previous administration to delay the certification of the 2020 election and amplify misinformation about the election results,’’ committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson, D-Miss., said in a statement. ‘’We need to understand Mr. Clark’s role in these efforts at the Justice Department and learn who was involved across the administration The Select Committee expects Mr. Clark to cooperate fully with our investigation.’’

A lawyer for Clark declined to comment.


The latest subpoena was issued as tensions over compliance with the investigation are increasing as the committee’s plan to hold depositions this week with Stephen K. Bannon and three other Trump administration officials — former chief of staff Mark Meadows, former deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino, and Kash Patel, who was serving as chief of staff to the acting defense secretary on Jan. 6 — is already facing head winds.

Although lawmakers maintain that the deposition dates still stand for this week, it remains unclear whether they will happen. But talks between the committee and the former officials’ lawyers continue.

Lawmakers who sit on the panel said they are prepared to pursue criminal charges against witnesses like Bannon who have balked at cooperating.


‘’We are completely of one mind that if people refuse to respond to questions without justification that we will hold them in criminal contempt and refer them to the Justice Department,’’ Rep. Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif., a member of the panel, said in an interview Tuesday.

Negotiations between Clark’s legal team and the committee did not proceed as rapidly as the panel hoped, according to a person familiar with the conversations who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive talks, which resulted in the subpoena being issued Wednesday.

The committee is seeking documents and a deposition from Clark by Oct. 29.

Clark is considered a key witness for the panel, which is looking into Trump administration efforts to overturn election results and interfere with the peaceful transfer of power.

Clark, the former acting head of the DOJ’s civil division, emerged as a key player in Trump’s push to amplify his voter-fraud claims after it was reported that the two men were in close touch in the days leading up to the Jan. 6 attack, which was the most serious attack on the Capitol since the War of 1812.

Clark authored and circulated a draft letter dated Dec. 28, addressed to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, R, that urged officials in the state to investigate unfounded claims of fraud. The Washington Post has previously reported that in early January, Trump entertained a plan to oust acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen and replace him with Clark, who was open to pursuing Trump’s attempts to overturn the election results.


Trump has urged his former aides not to cooperate with the committee and is asserting a claim of executive privilege to prevent the release of records from the National Archives after the Biden administration last week said it will not stand in the way of the information’s release.

A lawyer for Bannon said Wednesday that the committee’s public statements about his client were not productive. Bannon has provided testimony to investigators in past cases where Trump waived executive privilege.

‘’Their press releases about Steve Bannon are just bluster,’’ said Robert Costello, Bannon’s lawyer. Costello said he has reached out to Trump attorney Justin Clark to ask for details of Trump’s position on invoking privilege, but he said Clark has not responded.

In a letter last week, Costello informed the panel that Bannon will adhere to the former president’s directive to not comply with the committee’s requests.

‘’We will comply with the directions of the courts, when and if they rule on these claims of both executive and attorney client privileges,’’ wrote Costello. ‘’Since these privileges belong to President Trump and not Mr. Bannon, until these issues are resolved, Mr. Bannon is legally unable to comply with your subpoena requests for documents and testimony.’’

Bannon was subpoenaed last month along with Meadows, Scavino and Patel. Of the four, Bannon is the only one who was not part of the administration on Jan. 6. He left his job as a top White House adviser to Trump in 2017. Several legal experts questioned whether executive privilege could shield Bannon from responding to requests for information about what happened during a period when he was not a White House employee.