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Key witness in Congress' Capitol riot probe says he intends to plead the 5th amendment

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  • Jeffrey Clark
    American lawyer
Former Acting Assistant US Attorney General Jeffrey Clark.
Former Acting Assistant US Attorney General Jeffrey Clark.Yuri Gripas / Getty Images
  • Ex-DOJ official Jeffrey Clark intends to invoke his 5th amendment rights in the Jan. 6 committee probe.

  • The committee took the first step to recommend criminal charges against Clark on Wednesday.

  • But lawmakers said they'll give him a chance to appear again on Saturday and assert his claim.

A key witness in the January 6 select committee's investigation into the Capitol riot informed the panel late Wednesday that he intends to plead the 5th Amendment, the committee's chairman said.

The committee is "willing to convene another deposition" for Jeffrey Clark, a former top Justice Department under the Trump administration, chairman Bennie Thompson said Wednesday. He added that Clark has "agreed to appear again."

However, Thompson said the committee would still proceed with a previously scheduled vote to advance a criminal contempt referral for Clark because he refused to substantively answer lawmakers' questions when he appeared before the committee earlier.

Thompson also said the letter from Clark's lawyer informing the committee that he plans to plead the 5th is a "last-ditch attempt to delay the select committee's proceeding."

"We will proceed tonight with considering the contempt report, as this is just the first step of the contempt process," Thompson said.

The next step would be a full House of Representatives vote, which if successful would trigger a criminal referral to the Justice Department. Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, the vice-chair of the committee, also said that "we will not finalize this contempt process if Mr. Clark genuinely cures his failure to comply with this subpoena this Saturday."

The committee unanimously voted minutes later to recommend criminal charges against Clark.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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