House January 6th Commission members are getting closer to pursuing criminal charges against the former Trump regime members who are refusing congressional subpoenas.
The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol is planning to ramp up its efforts to force Trump administration officials to comply with its subpoenas as the former president attempts to stymie the inquiry.
Lawmakers who sit on the panel said they are prepared to pursue criminal charges against witnesses like Stephen K. Bannon who have balked at cooperating. And the committee may issue a subpoena as early as Wednesday to 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.
“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.
Tensions over compliance with subpoenas are increasing as the committee’s plan to hold depositions this week with 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.
Negotiations between Clark’s legal team and the committee did not proceed as rapidly as the committee hoped, according to a person familiar with the conversations who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive talks. As a result, the committee is contemplating issuing a subpoena, this person said.
A committee spokesman declined to comment on any possible future subpoenas.
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.