Agents search home of Trump-era Justice Dept. official

Capitol Riots

WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 21: Acting Assistant U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Clark speaks next to Deputy U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen at a news conference, where they announced that Purdue Pharma LP has agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges over the handling of its addictive prescription opioid OxyContin at the Justice Department on October 21, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Yuri Gripas-Pool/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — U.S. law enforcement raided the home of a Donald Trump-era Justice Department official ahead of a Thursday hearing into the role he played in the former president’s efforts to overturn his 2020 election defeat.

The hearing by the House of Representatives’ select committee on Jan. 6, 2021, will take the public into the White House on Jan. 3, 2021, when there was a discussion of Trump possibly firing Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and replacing him with Jeffrey Clark.

Russ Vought, the former director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget who recently hired Clark to work for his legal advocacy group Center for Renewing America, confirmed the raid of Clark’s home on Twitter.

He said more than a dozen federal law enforcement officials searched Clark’s house in a pre-dawn raid, “put him in the streets in his pjs, and took his electronic devices.” ABC News said the raid took place on Wednesday.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office confirmed there was law enforcement activity on Wednesday in the Lorton, Virginia, suburb of Washington near where Clark lives, but declined to elaborate.

Rosen was set to testify before the House committee along with Richard Donoghue, former acting deputy attorney general, and former Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel Steven Engel.

According to committee aides, Justice Department officials also were asked to take steps to encourage some states, such as Arizona and Georgia, to engineer Trump victories over Democrat Joe Biden even though Biden was the winner in those contests.

Meanwhile, the Department of Justice on Wednesday delivered grand jury subpoenas to two Republican Party officials in Georgia, as well as to Trump campaign aides in Michigan, Arizona and New Mexico, the New York Times and Washington Post reported.

The Detroit News reported that a group of Michigan Republicans who signed a certificate falsely claiming to cast the state’s electoral votes for the Republican Trump in December 2020 are receiving grand jury subpoenas from federal officials. The newspaper quoted multiple sources.

The Justice Department is investigating whether there was a plot to advance alternative slates of fake electors in battleground states with the goal of overturning the election result.

According to one subpoena seen by Reuters that is focused on the phony slate of electors in Georgia, investigators are seeking copies of documents from October 2020 related to “any effort, plan or attempt to serve as an elector in favor of Donald J. Trump and/or (Vice President) Mike R. Pence.”

They also are seeking copies of communications between would-be electors and any federal government employees, as well as communications involving Trump allies, including lawyers Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman.

Thursday’s congressional hearing, the fifth this month, is structured to examine how Trump in the waning days of his presidency “was using the Department of Justice for his own personal needs” to stay in power beyond Jan. 20, 2021, a committee aide said.

In a fiery speech outside the White House that day, Trump spoke of a need to overturn his election defeat. His supporters stormed the Capitol, sending lawmakers and Pence fleeing for their lives when they had assembled to certify the election results.

Four people died on Jan. 6, one shot by police and the others of natural causes. Some 140 police officers were injured, and one who fought rioters died the next day. Four officers later died by suicide.

Nearly 850 people have been arrested for crimes related to the riot, including more than 250 charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement.

Trump continues to falsely blame his defeat on widespread fraud, a claim rejected by courts, state election officials and members of his own administration.

Witnesses, according to aides, were prepared to testify that pressure was placed on Justice Department officials to publicly state that there was election fraud.

The hearing will highlight how a few senior Republican officials at the Justice Department resisted the Trump-led pressure campaign.

Testimony also is expected to show that Clark had drafted a letter, never sent, to Georgia state lawmakers shortly after the 2020 election that falsely claimed the department had found concerns that may have influenced the election outcome there and elsewhere.

The letter urged state legislators to convene special sessions to overturn the election results, but Rosen and Donoghue refused to send it.

On Twitter earlier this year, Clark called himself “one of the top targets of the politically motivated J6 committee.”

He is also separately facing investigations by the Justice Department’s inspector general, as well as the D.C. Office of Disciplinary Counsel, the office that probes attorney misconduct.

© Thomson Reuters

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