On Wednesday, the FBI handed subpoenas to an unknown number of people who took part in the Jan. 6 conspiracy as false electors. Subpoenas are reported to have gone out to members of the Republican Party in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, and Nevada. In addition, federal agents seized evidence, including the phone of the Republican Party chair in Nevada.
Finally, rightwing “think tank” The Center for Renewing America confirmed that “more than a dozen DOJ law enforcement officials” searched the home of former Justice Department (DOJ) official Jeffrey Clark on Wednesday.
Clark’s part in the Jan. 6 conspiracy was supplemental to the role of the false electors, whose assigned task was to create an excuse for throwing out the electoral votes in seven states, as part of the scheme created by Donald Trump and attorney John Eastman. Clark, an environmental lawyer several levels down at the DOJ at the time, proposed that Trump remove then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and replace him with the completely unqualified Clark. Clark then promised to throw the weight of the DOJ behind false claims of voter fraud, giving Trump room to refuse to leave office and to call for new elections.
Now Clark is being investigated by the people who know exactly what he did and who he is—his former colleagues at the DOJ.
Clark’s new employers in the Republican welfare program at The Center for Renewing America rushed to claim that the raid on Clark’s home consisted of “criminalizing politics” because all Clark wanted was “to investigate voter fraud.” Which is a good example of walking as far from the truth as is possible.
The truth is that Clark saw Trump’s desperation to get the DOJ to sign on to the conspiracy, and how frustrated Trump was that Rosen refused to play ball. So Clark offered Trump an absolutely classic “you wash my hands, and I’ll wash yours” arrangement whereby Clark would fly multiple tiers upward to land in the AG role and Trump would get a statement claiming the DOJ was investigating significant voter fraud.
To support this idea, Clark focused on Georgia and both he and Trump pressured then U.S. attorney Byung Pak to back their play. Clark went so far as to pre-draft a letter falsely saying the DOJ was investigating significant voter fraud in Georgia. At one point, Clark was so confident that Trump was about to pull the trigger, that he graciously offered to allow Rosen to hang around as his second in command.
The only thing that stopped Trump from executing this scheme and replacing Rosen with Clark was the timely release of a public statement from Georgia Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger. Having been badgered and threatened by Trump, Raffensperger went public. Word of what Trump and Clark had been planning spread around the DOJ, and multiple senior officials at the department made it clear they would resign rather than go along. In the end, Rosen confronted Trump directly. Trump backed down.
As House select committee on Jan. 6 chair Rep. Bennie Thompson said during Thursday’s hearing, Trump tried to use the DOJ to back his scheme. “Donald Trump didn’t just want the Justice Department to investigate,” said Thompson. “He wanted the Justice Department to help legitimize his lies, to baselessly call the election corrupt.”
Whether Clark was subpoenaed to testify or produce information isn’t known. However, among those who did receive a subpoena on Wednesday was Georgia Republican Party chair David Shafer. Shafer reportedly played a central role in organizing the false elector effort in Georgia.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.