Trump stooges Jeffery Clark and John Eastman are now both reportedly pleading the Fifth Amendment. That’s perfect. The January 6th Committee will now be able to use this to convince the general public that this is indeed a Trump-led criminal conspiracy, before the public hearings even begin.
And no, this doesn’t mean that Clark and Eastman are magically going to get away with anything. If they plead the fifth unreasonably broadly, the committee can still ring them up to the DOJ for contempt of Congress. And if they plead the fifth narrowly in response to just a handful of specific questions, it gives the DOJ a roadmap for precisely where to look for underlying crimes.
It’ll be even better for the committee if it can pressure a bigger name, or someone closer to Trump, to also plead the fifth. We’ll be watching to see if Mark Meadows, who has begun cooperating with the committee, will end up trying to narrowly plead the fifth on specific questions. If the committee can announce to the public that Trump’s own White House Chief of Staff is pleading the fifth about the things he and Trump plotted together, that’s a huge victory in the messaging war.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report