Feds search home of former DOJ official Trump sought to install as AG: reports
Federal law enforcement this week searched the home of Jeffrey Clark, the former Department of Justice (DOJ) official accused of trying to use the agency to pursue former President Trump’s election fraud allegations.
Clark’s suburban Virginia home was searched on Wednesday, a day before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack was set to hear from former DOJ officials about the internal strife in the Trump administration following the 2020 election. The search of Clark’s home was first reported by The New York Times.
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in D.C. confirmed to The Hill that there was law enforcement activity in a Virginia suburb of the capital on Wednesday, but declined to offer any details.
Russ Vought, Trump’s former director of the Office of Management and Budget and the founder and president of the conservative think tank where Clark now works, criticized the law enforcement search on Thursday, describing it as a “pre-dawn raid.”
“The new era of criminalizing politics is worsening in the US,” Vought said in a statement. “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. 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.”
Clark was central to Trump’s pressure campaign at the DOJ and Trump even weighed installing him as attorney general, according to previously released material.
The mid-level attorney, who specialized in environmental law and was acting head of the department’s civil division at the time, was one of Trump’s top advocates for forwarding election fraud claims. He pushed the DOJ to send a letter to Georgia asking it to hold off on certifying its election results so the Justice Department could announce an investigation into voter fraud there.
That pressure campaign came to a head at a Jan. 3, 2021, meeting in which Trump told his DOJ leadership he was weighing ousting them in favor of Clark, who had for days been pushing Trump allies’ claims about voter fraud.
Then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and his deputy, Richard Donoghue, were surprised to get an email from Clark prior to their White House meeting promoting “various theories that seemed to be derived from the internet,” according to Donoghue.
That included a theory that the Chinese government may have hacked into Dominion voting machines through a smart thermostat. He followed with a request for an intelligence community briefing on the matter along with the request to send the letter to Georgia elections officials.
DOJ officials were able to talk Trump out of making the move–largely by threatening there would be a wave of resignations.
“Mr. President, these aren’t bureaucratic leftovers from another administration … What happens if, within 48 hours, we have hundreds of resignations from your Justice Department because of your actions? What does that say about your leadership?” Donoghue previously told the committee he asked Trump.
Clark was subpoenaed by the Jan. 6 committee in October for his efforts at DOJ.
“The Select Committee’s investigation has revealed credible evidence that you attempted to involve the Department of Justice in efforts to interrupt the peaceful transfer of power,” the committee wrote in its letter.
“You proposed that the department send a letter to state legislators in Georgia and other states suggesting that they delay certification of their election results and hold a press conference announcing that the department was investigating allegations of voter fraud,” it added.
Clark was nearly censured by the House after walking out of an initial deposition with the panel’s investigators but later returned, pleading his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination multiple times.
Updated 2:35 p.m.