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Jeff Clark emerged inside the Justice Department as a supporter of Trump's election fraud claims.
The search came a day before a House January 6 hearing on Clark's attempts to help Trump.
Clark's new employer said he had to wait outside in his pajamas during the search.
Federal investigators on Wednesday searched the home of Jeff Clark, a former top Justice Department official in the Trump administration, in connection with the wide-ranging inquiry into efforts to overturn the 2020 election, according to multiple people familiar with the matter.
In the weeks after the 2020 election, Clark emerged as a top DOJ official willing to assist President Donald Trump as he pressured the Justice Department to back his baseless claims of voter fraud and overturn his loss to Joe Biden. Clark, the Senate-confirmed head of the Justice Department's environmental division, stood ready to replace then-acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen and take over the Justice Department to advance Trump's scheme to reverse the election.
But Trump ultimately backed down from naming him acting attorney general after several of his own top Justice Department appointees said they would resign.
ABC first reported the search of Clark's home in the Washington, DC, suburbs. A Justice Department spokesperson confirmed to Insider that there was law enforcement activity in the area of Lorton, Virginia, where Clark lives, but declined to comment on the nature of that activity or on any particular individuals.
The search of Clark's home came on the eve of a congressional hearing that is expected to highlight the effort by Trump and his allies to throw the weight of the Justice Department behind his false claims of election fraud. At 3 pm on Thursday, Rosen and two other former Justice Department leaders are set to testify before the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack about their experience pushing back against that unprecedented pressure campaign.
Clark joined a conservative legal group, the New Civil Liberties Alliance, following the Trump administration. But he left soon after the House January 6 committee subpoenaed him and the Senate Judiciary Committee released an interim report — titled "Subverting Justice" — on its own investigation into Trump's effort to overturn the 2020 election.
In closed-door depositions with the congressional committees, Rosen recounted his surprise at Clark's eagerness to advance unfounded claims of voter fraud and wield the Justice Department as part of Trump's effort to overturn the election. As part of that effort, Clark drafted a letter to legislatures in key battleground states informing them that the Justice Department was investigating purported voter irregularities related to the election, but Rosen refused to sign it.
Trump considered removing Rosen as acting attorney general and replacing him with Clark. But in a tense Oval Office meeting, Trump's own Justice Department appointees warned they would resign if he ousted Rosen.
As one Justice Department official put it, Clark would be leading a "graveyard" if he ascended to the role of acting attorney general. Another Justice Department official, Richard Donoghue, recalled telling Trump there was "no way I'm serving 1 minute under this guy."
Donoghue, who served as Rosen's top deputy, also questioned Clark's credentials to lead the Justice Department. When Clark defended his experience, Donoghue shot back: "That's right. You're an environmental lawyer. How about you go back to your office, and we'll call you when there's an oil spill," according to his recollection of the meeting to House investigators.
Earlier this year, Clark joined the Center for Renewing America, a conservative group filled with former Trump administration officials. On Thursday, the group's president, Russ Vought, confirmed the search of Clark's home and declared that the "new era of criminalizing politics is worsening in the US."
"Yesterday more than a dozen DOJ law enforcement officials searched Jeff Clark's house in a pre-dawn raid, put him in the streets in his pajamas, and took his electronic devices. All because Jeff saw fit to investigate voter fraud," said Vought, who served as White House budget director during the Trump administration. "This is not America, folks. The weaponization of government must end. Let me be very clear. We stand by Jeff and so must all patriots in this country."
Read the original article on Business Insider