Federal investigators descended on the home of Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official, on Wednesday in connection with the department’s sprawling inquiry into efforts to overturn the 2020 election, according to people familiar with the matter.
It remained unclear exactly what the investigators may have been looking for, but Clark was central to former President Donald Trump’s unsuccessful effort in late 2020 to strong-arm the nation’s top prosecutors into supporting his claims of election fraud.
The law enforcement action at Clark’s home in suburban Virginia came just one day before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol was poised to hold a hearing examining Trump’s efforts to pressure the Justice Department after his election defeat.
The hearing was expected to explore Clark’s role in helping Trump bend the department to his will and ultimately help in a bid to persuade officials in several key swing states to change the outcome of their election results.
Trump considered and then abandoned a plan in the days just before the Jan. 6 attack to put Clark in charge of the Justice Department as acting attorney general. At the time, Clark was proposing to send a letter to state officials in Georgia falsely stating that the department had evidence that could lead Georgia to rescind its certification of Joe Biden’s victory in that key swing state.
The search at Clark’s home also came as a federal grand jury continued to issue subpoenas to at least eight people in four different states who were involved in a plan by Trump and his allies to subvert the normal workings of the electoral process by creating fake slates of pro-Trump electors in states that were actually won by Biden.
Clark did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.
Clark, who once served as the acting head of the Justice Department’s civil division, helped in late December 2020 to draft a letter to Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia stating — without evidence — that the Justice Department had identified “significant concerns” about the “outcome of the election” in Georgia and several other states. The letter advised Kemp, a Republican, to call a special session of his state’s legislature to create “a separate slate of electors supporting Donald J. Trump.”
Clark pressured the acting attorney general at the time, Jeffrey A. Rosen, to sign and send the letter to Kemp, but Rosen refused. Rosen is scheduled to testify before the House committee at its hearing Thursday.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.