January 29, 2023

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol is holding its fifth public hearing on Thursday, this time focusing on former President Donald Trump’s efforts to pressure the Justice Department. 

Witnesses will include former acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen; former acting deputy attorney general Richard Donoghue; and former assistant attorney general Steven Engel. Donoghue has testified before the committee that Trump suggested replacing Rosen with former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark

CBS News has learned that Clark’s home was raided on Wednesday morning. 

CBS News had earlier confirmed that federal investigators have been serving  subpoenas and showing up at locations connected to people who may have participated in efforts to use “invalid electors.”

Rep. Elaine Luria told CBS News on her way to the hearing room that Clark will be “central to today’s hearing.” She said she didn’t know beforehand about the search of his home. 

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, one of only two Republicans on the committee who took a lead role in Thursday’s hearing, said in his opneing statement that Trump wanted the Justice Department to say the election was “corrupt,” and leave the rest to Republican members of Congress. So, Kinzinger said, the president sought out a new attorney general, which would be his third in two weeks. He needed someone able to ignore the facts, Kinzinger said. 

Capitol Riot Investigation
Steven Engel, former Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel, from left, Jeffrey Rosen, former acting Attorney General, and Richard Donoghue, former acting Deputy Attorney General, are sworn in to testify. 

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Clark, an environmental attorney, had no real qualifications to make him attorney general, Kinzinger said. 

“What was his only qualification? That he would do whatever the president wanted him to do,” Kinzinger said.  

Committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson said in his opening statement that “today, we’ll tell the story of how the pressure campaign also targeted the federal agency charged with the enforcement of our laws, the Department of Justice.” 

Committee aides said that the committee will argue that Trump only failed because the leadership team at the Justice Department threatened to resign. There could potentially be video from Clark’s meeting with the committee, during which he pleaded the Fifth Amendment. 

Earlier Thursday, documentary filmmaker Alex Holder met with the committee behind closed doors. Holder told reporters after the meeting that he provided all the materials the committee has asked for and would continue to cooperate. He tweeted that he had one interview with Trump before Jan. 6, and two after, but declined to say what the video of the former president showed.

According to the New York Times, Ivanka Trump told the film crew in mid-December 2020 that the former president should “continue to fight until every legal remedy is exhausted,” which differed from her testimony to the select committee. CBS News has confirmed the Times’ account.

In her interview with House investigators that has been shown at earlier public hearings, Ivanka Trump said she “accepted” then-Attorney Bill Barr’s conclusion that there was no widespread fraud in the 2020 election.

Asked about the inconsistencies between Ivanka Trump’s comments to the film crew and her testimony to the select committee, Holder said there were “certainly differences in the things that she says.”

Russell Smith, Holder’s lawyer, said there were “inconsistencies” in Ivanka Trump’s remarks.

“That’s why we’re cooperating with the committee, and they can determine whether there was perjury or something less than that,” Smith told reporters.

Thursday’s hearing is the fifth public hearing so far by the House select committee, which has been investigating the attack for 11 months. The earlier public hearings have focused on other pressure campaigns by Trump, including on state lawmakers and elections officials and Vice President Mike Pence. 

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