Jan. 6 panel faces new test as first witness pleads the Fifth

Former Trump Department of Justice official Jeffrey Clark’s plans to plead the Fifth to the House’s Jan. 6 committee could complicate DOJ’s willingness to prosecute him for contempt of Congress even as it further hints at potential criminal activity by President Trump and others in his orbit.

On the eve of the committee’s vote to censure Clark for failing to comply with their subpoena after largely refusing to answer their questions, a lawyer for Clark indicated he would like to exercise his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

It’s a remarkable development from a man who became a central player in Trump’s efforts to get DOJ to investigate his baseless claims of 2020 election fraud, including suggesting the department send a letter to Georgia and other states urging them to delay certification of the results.