Earlier today we explained why the January 6th Committee’s criminal referral against Steve Bannon, which resulted in his indictment and arrest by the DOJ, has worked. “Stop the Steal” organizer Ali Alexander announced in a video last night that he’s coming out of hiding to cooperate with the committee, specifically because he doesn’t want to go to prison. Indicting Bannon was always about scaring other, more skittish witnesses into cooperating.
Now the committee has announced that it’s holding a vote this week to recommend former Trump DOJ official Jeffrey Clark for indictment. This vote will pass unanimously, and then the full House will formalize the referral within a day or two after that.
Given that Clark tried to invoke the same nonexistent “privilege” argument as Bannon, it’s not difficult to figure out that the DOJ will very likely indict and arrest Clark. What’s notable is that while Bannon simply refused to show up and testify at all, Clark, tried the trick of showing up and testifying but invoking “privilege” in response to key questions. The resulting criminal referral against him is a reminder that there are no magic wands for these witnesses.
Again, the point of indicting an obstructor like Jeffrey Clark is to scare other people into cooperating. The committee has scheduled dozens of Trump-connected people to testify, and while a few have publicly vowed not to cooperate, many of them are likely on the fence, trying to figure out their least bad option. Ali Alexander took one look at these contempt indictments coming down the pike and decided to cooperate. He likely won’t be the only one. The committee doesn’t need everyone to cooperate; it only needs a handful of key people.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report