House Jan. 6 committee hears testimony from Trump's final attorney general, subpoenas his deputy

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Jeffrey Clark, Jeffrey Rosen
Jeffrey Clark, Jeffrey Rosen Yuri Gripas-Pool/Getty Images

Jeffrey Rosen, the acting attorney general in the tumultuous final days of the Trump administration, sat for eight hours of closed-door testimony Wednesday with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol siege, The Washington Post and Politico report, each citing two people familiar with the meeting. Rosen appeared before the committee voluntarily, and he explained his notes about events leading up to the Jan. 6 riot and testified about the steps the Justice Department took to counter the attack on the Capitol, the Post reports.

The Jan. 6 panel also reportedly asked Rosen about his interactions with Jeffrey Clark, the former acting head of the DOJ's civil division and, according to emails and previous testimony, a key ally of President Trump in his efforts to stop President Biden from taking office. The committee wanted to know which of Clark's allies were inside the Justice Department and which were outside of the government, the Post reports.

The Jan. 6 committee also subpoenaed Clark on Wednesday, requesting documents and an in-person deposition by Oct. 29. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said his committee needs to "understand Mr. Clark's role" in the "efforts inside the previous administration to delay the certification of the 2020 election and amplify misinformation about the election results," including "who was involved across the administration."

Emails and Senate testimony from Rosen show that Clark nearly got Trump to appoint him attorney general in early January as part of an effort to nullify Biden's victory. "Well, here's the thing, Jeff Clark, my subordinates don't get to fire me," Rosen told Clark, according to his Senate testimony.

It isn't clear how Clark will respond to the subpoena. Several of the witnesses contacted by the Jan. 6 committee are cooperating, others are "engaging" in negotiations, and at least one, former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, has declined to participate, citing Trump's claims of executive privilege.

Legal experts are dubious Trump's efforts to stop his former aides from testifying will be upheld by the courts, but the Jan. 6 committee has threatened to seek criminal contempt charges against those who ignore the subpoenas. It also has other options, the Post explains. "While Congress' enforcement power of subpoenas has its weak spots, if it wants to really ramp up the pressure, there aren't a lot of ways around avoiding a subpoena, other than going to jail."

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