U.S. House committee recommends contempt charge for Trump-era Justice Dept official

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Capitol Building is stormed by a pro-Trump mob on Jan. 6, 2021

By Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. congressional committee probing the deadly Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol voted on Wednesday in favor of contempt of Congress https://www.reuters.com/world/us/whats-stake-trump-allies-facing-contempt-congress-2021-10-14 charges against Jeffrey Clark, a senior Justice Department official under former President Donald Trump.

The seven Democratic and two Republican members of the House of Representatives Select Committee approved a report recommending the criminal charge by a unanimous 9-0 vote, after Clark appeared before the committee in early November but declined to answer questions.

The committee's approval of the report paved the way for the entire House to vote on whether to recommend contempt charges.

Representative Bennie Thompson, the panel's Democratic chairman, said before the vote that Clark's attorney had contacted them on Wednesday evening and said Clark had invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to self-incriminate and agreed to continue his deposition.

Clark had declined to answer questions and walked out of his first deposition in early November.

Thompson said the committee nonetheless was going ahead with the contempt proceeding, and had ordered Clark to appear on Saturday. “We will not allow anyone to run out the clock, and we will insist that he must appear,” Thompson said.

Approval by the full, Democratic-controlled chamber would send the matter to the Department of Justice for a decision on whether to prosecute.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Scott Malone and Peter Cooney)

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