Jeffrey Clark was due to testify on Saturday before the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol and the role of the former president and his allies in attempting to overturn the election’s outcome.
But Mr Clark, a Justice Department official under the Trump administration and a staunch ally of the former president, postponed his appearance until 16 December due to an unspecified medical reason.
House Committee spokesperson Tim Mulvey said in a statement on Friday that a delay had been agreed upon after Mr Clark provided “ample evidence” relating to his health matter.
“Through his attorney, Mr Clark has informed the Select Committee of a medical condition that precludes his participation in tomorrow’s meeting and he has provided ample evidence of his claim,” he said.
“Chairman Thompson has agreed to postpone the deposition until December 16th. Chairman Thompson wishes Mr Clark well.”
Rep Adam Schiff, a California Democrat and committee member, reinforced the belief that the delay was for “genuine” medical reasons.
“I don’t know what the medical condition is — but the committee is satisfied that it is genuine, that is there is ample documentation, this is not yet another ruse,” he told MSNBC.
Mr Clark’s 11th-hour postponement marked the latest back and forth between the former assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division and the committee over his refusal to comply with their subpoena.
Mr Clark originally appeared for a deposition on 5 November but he refused to answer questions and failed to hand over documents requested by the panel.
These documents included communications between him and Mr Trump, senior White House and state officials and members of the former president’s reelection campaign.
The committee made steps to find Mr Clark in criminal contempt of Congress, voting unanimously on Wednesday to approve a resolution against him.
Mr Clark then agreed to Saturday’s deposition with the committee however his attorney said he planned to invoke his Fifth Amendment right not to self incriminate himself.
Mr Clark is believed to have been one of the most critical figures involved in Mr Trump’s efforts to pressure the Justice Department to investigate his false claims of election fraud.
He is accused of pushing then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and other top DOJ officials to sign a letter to Georgia Governor Brian Kemp urging him to appoint electors to cast votes for Mr Trump – even though Mr Biden had won the state.